You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘empathy’ tag.

author’s note:

Today, in the U.S., we honor our military veterans.

I say: we’re all veterans, of one type or another.
 

EMPATHY FOR THREE

One night while standing in line
I heard a man behind me say
with a sneer:

he’s fallen again

and felt a surge of empathy
for someone I did not know

but I knew his pain—
you see, I’ve fallen too

a few times
or maybe more
than a few

and like that guy
been criticized
while still down

if not by someone else
then by myself—
yeah, I can be quite critical of me.

So I think I know something
about that critical man in line—
I believe his sneer belies
anger at some part of himself
he deems weak.

The pain behind his anger
is pain I know, so now
I also feel empathy for him.

Maybe my empathy
is merely self-pity
projected outwards.

But if so, that’s okay
because

when I see myself
in those two mirrors
I want to help them both

and when I want to help them both
I want to help all three of us

and when I want help the three of us
I want to help the whole damn world.
 

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
40 New Fables: ebook

Advertisements

author’s note:

I want to die with my boots on.
 

DYING WITH HIM

Unable to believe a prayer could help
I suffered quietly with the man instead:

I matched my breath
with his ragged breath
and winced
whenever his eyelids crinkled in pain

yet I still felt so distant.

To entertain my impatience
I counted time as his blind hand
ticked against the sheet

and in that way
I fell into a timeless trance

until with a startle
our heart clunked clumsily
once…twice

then my breath and chest slumped
as his whole apparatus collapsed
with one relinquishing heave.

Suddenly a subtle brightness
intensified the room:
a nebulous glittery mist
hovered midair

only to dissolve in a blink—
too soon gone.

I nearly laughed:

what had seemed
so crushingly hard
had become in an instant
ridiculously easy.

In that moment, I realized
the old book spoke the truth—
we are indeed resurrected.

I suffered with him
until we suffered no more.
 

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
myth steps: a blog

author’s note:

Actually, I think this is a good poem for the beginning of Spring.
 

FROM THE WRECKAGE

As I watch the shattered jet
smolder in a field…

I notice the wreckage resembles a cross

and begin to wonder if
I’m only using this crash
to mourn my own private losses—

I had to kill
so many childish kings
with their commands and castle dreams
so that my kingly child might live:

this slow painful sacrifice
is still in progress—

no, I haven’t quite arrived
at that new life.

But though I’ve reason to mourn
I’m ashamed to have descended
into self-pity
while witnessing a tragedy

however…

this release of grief
opens a well of feeling

and so, I suddenly swell
with true empathy for the many
who’ll be deep-struck
by the shock of this loss

then realize:
we’re together in grief

and also
together in hope:

as a woman wearing a hood
lifts a baby from the ashes
an artesian tear rises in my eye:

though I know a shadow
will haunt that child
from this time forward…

when I see
that small tear-streaked face
I again believe
in the new life
that follows in the wake
of all our sacrifice.
 


© 2017, Michael R. Patton
Butterfly Soul: poems of death and grief and joy

woman mirror 261w - August 20, 2015s

author’s note:

If I thought my poems only related to my own life, I wouldn’t even bother.
 

TO ESCAPE A HEARTLESS DEATH

To escape
the hurt of this world
I go to see you

but then I hurt again:

sometimes, even a single word
—said in innocence—
can raise a cry from a wound

and as the old pain surges up
we defend ourselves by attacking
the one standing next to us.

But still, I go to you
because you know my wounds
and so, can help soothe the pain.

When I see your wounds
I feel your wounds
and when I feel your wounds
I feel my own, once again:

to ignore my wounds
would be death

and to ignore yours
would be heartless:

I go to see you
to escape a heartless death.

Such a dusty history!—
and yet, when I come to you
the world becomes new
because the world outside
disappears

then reappears
but in its greater glory
when I must leave.

I come to see you
because the deeper truth
can only be told
without words.
 


© 2015, Michael R. Patton
my war for peace: the book

find COMMON COURAGE on amazon

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 645 other followers

Archives

Advertisements