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grass-stone-796-dgr-2-march-1-2017sc

author’s note:

I think most people have some type of hillside.
 

WHEN I RETURN

Though this hillside
has often helped me heal
now, I dare not lie down
for fear I’d never rise again.

Grief taints all my usual comforts:

the small blue wildflowers…
the gray stones…
the grasses
I’ve loved so often
with the spirit
that uses these neurons.

But despite the taint
I remain
because these things
–these beings
know me:
they feel my grief
and empathize.

To ease their worry
I’ll hold steady
as a feeling that seems relentlessly endless
slowly drains down

into a hidden reservoir–

a reservoir
I will ignore
to keep from being overwhelmed
as I do my daily chores…

a reservoir
that will eventually
overwhelm me
unless I return
to this green hill—

return when
I feel the pull
to deepen down
to deepen
as I deepen now.

When I return
I will see and feel
the taint left on the flowers
the stones and flowing
grasses

and in knowing
my grief again
I’ll realize
how strong I was
in my weakness—

strong enough
to fight the urge
to lie down forever.

When I return
I will lie down
in these grasses

like a lover
I’ll fall open
once more—

confident
of my courage.
 


© 2017, Michael R. Patton
Butterfly Soul” poems of grief & death & joy

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iris capacity 240w - June 14, 2015s

author’s note:

“Water is poetry.”
       — Jerry Brown, Governor, California

“Poetry is water.”
       — anonymous
 

THE IRIS

When I asked myself
why this life gives me water
beyond my capacity to hold

I found my answer in the Iris flower

that catches the lashings of the storm
in the cup of its petals

until the thin stem finally buckles
and the rainwater spills out
to nourish the earth below:

a gift now flavored
with the complex scent of the Iris…

Relieved but empty
the flower cup then lifts again
to receive more rain.
 


© 2015, Michael R. Patton
dream steps: the blog

butterfly soul - April 9, 2014s

author’s note:

One last “grief poem”…

I’m putting together a collection.  In the process, I’ve discovered this consistent irony: each grief poem contains joy.
 

THE LEGEND OF THE BUTTERFLY SOUL

According to legend…

when lost in battle
our warriors can return
in the form
of blue butterflies

to help guide us through
our many trepidatious endeavors.

So when I sensed
those fluttering wings around me
I welcomed you
and waited

to hear your golden song

but you whispered
just these few words
then flew away:

before you can look skyward
you must first lower your eyes.

And what did I find
after following that epistle—?—

a mud mound of grief
heaped up on my plate.

But according to legend:
the black plate becomes golden
at the end of our hard banquet.

According to legend:
the butterfly will return
a second time

but only after
the one left behind
builds enough strength to swallow
the enormous lump
stifling his summoning song.

According to the minstrels,
this legend has passed
from one mourner to another
down through our dark ages

and when I am through
I’ll beam its message too…
 

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
myth steps

author’s note:

I’m NOT going to suggest that you buy this poem (as part of a collection entitled Glorious Tedious Transformaiton) on amazon…

As a wise man once said: why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?
 
 
SACRED LOSS

Another husk falls
from my chest—
one more
reaper harvest.

I don’t want to forget
this painful accomplishment
so I’ll retrieve this shell—
this dry cracked scab

though its rough edges
prick my fingertips
as I reach down—

yes, still fiery poignant.

To honor the dead
I lay the delicate shield
on the kitchen shelf.

Not for public view,
no, soft in the shadow—

for now, I will keep
this sacred loss—this sacrifice
in quiet privacy
until I arrive
at better understanding.

© 2013, Michael R. Patton
dream steps

find COMMON COURAGE on amazon

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