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author’s note:

With regret, I cut these lines from the poem below:

“as any witch who sweeps at night
  would tell you:
  change often goes unnoticed.”
 

SPINNING & TURNING

A year or so ago
I awoke from a dream
of a cock crowing on a rooftop—
silhouetted distinctly
by the pink-gold of a rising sun

which I believed symbolized
the arrival of a glorious new life
after decades of hard labor.

But when the weeks passed
and I continued to spin
without appearing to turn
I began to doubt again—

what more could I do
to shatter whatever invisible barrier
blocked my forward progress?—

perhaps something new
would bring in the new

so I began a slew
of fresh healthy activities:

I chanted along
with a recording of monks

and wrote daily in a dream journal—
analyzing scenes of mirrors and fog.

I surreptitiously laid
a stone walkway
in our city park—
a monument to the many strong people
working in the shadows
for the good of all.

I rearranged my files
then rearranged the rearrangement—

signaling to
the powers that be
(maybe outside, maybe within me)
that I was quite ready
for the disruption
of a new beginning.

But despite all I did
I still seemed to spin
without turning

so I again darkened with doubt

until a dream showed
pink-gold sunrays
erasing the gray
of a skylight above me.

Waking in joy
I then began to crow—
finally I understood:

though the mornings
may seem the same
I am turning my world.
 

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
myth steps blog

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author’s note:

“We experience a dream as real because it is real.”
              — Dr. William C. Dement
 

MY BETTER WORLD

The excited uncertainty
of crossing a stone bridge in dark fog

ended
before I’d reached the end—ended
with the alarm of morning

and as I began my usual routine
the intensity faded
and I forgot the dream

until that afternoon:

while waiting to cross a city street
I suddenly recalled the night bridge
hidden and revealed and hidden
by the tease of shifting clouds

and as the feeling returned
my day world of blatant sunlight
became as real as that dream:

the traffic light warning me…
the bleached grey fence…
a vacant lot overgrown with weeds—
all seemed strangely alive

and I felt myself to be
an alien spirit
discovering a wonderland

then the light changed
and as my attention shifted
that sense of intensity faded:

once again I was
a lowly armadillo
grubbing along the asphalt.

However
that feeling of living
in a grander world
is not lost, only asleep

and sometimes
stirs from slumber
to end my daydream.

I then remember
I am more than a mere
creature of survival.
 

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
what I learned while alone: poetry ebook

author’s note:

Reality…what a concept!
        — Robin Williams
 

MANY NEW DAWNS

I awoke to the morning sun
as if struck by lightning

then woke again—

shocked
as I realized
my first awakening
had been a dream.

I pinched myself then
to be certain of my reality

then woke again

but this time
to the actual physical world

though a philosopher might ask
can you be sure?

To that I’d reply:
maybe not—but
I’m pretty sure I know
what the dream says
which is:

enlightenment doesn’t happen
in one final lightning moment
but with many awakenings—
many new dawns.

And I say:
we are never done—
not even after
we’ve gone beyond.
 

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
myth steps: poetry ebook

author’s note:

I think I hold the world’s record for daydreaming.
 

LIVING IN A DREAM

In the dream
I bit into an apple

like the apple
I bit into
last Sunday
as I sat, daydreaming
beneath a droopy tree.

However
my dream apple
seemed much more intense
than my day apple—

maybe the dream came to wake me
with this message:

see what you miss
when you lazily ignore
just how incredible
your mundane life is.

I must not forget:
we live in a dream.

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
dream steps blog

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