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author’s note:

Happy Groundhog Day to all the groundhogs out there.
 

AFTER I SAW MY GROUNDHOG SHADOW

If gray clouds cover the sky
on Groundhog Day
the groundhog won’t see his shadow
and so, feel safe
to remain above ground—
to feed, to frolic

just as I did
in my dim Spring.

On the other hand
if the sun cuts through the clouds
then his shadow will be revealed
and our furry friend
will retreat to his dark den—

afraid, as I once was
of that creature unknown.

But in time, he’ll return
just as I did:

I guess we can’t forget
the glory to be found in sunlight—
we want to see—
even if
what we witness frightens us
or pains our eyes.

Maybe…or maybe
we begin to worry—
wondering if

that shadowy something
has followed us back inside
and still lurks—
hidden in the dark.

So we then decide:
hard open light is actually safer
than the shelter of soft darkness.
 

© 2019, Michael R. Patton
myth steps blog

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author’s note:

“We have met the enemy and he is us.”
        — Walt Kelly, Pogo
 

ANOTHER BATTLE WON

Yesterday, as I skipped
down the sidewalk
I thought I glimpsed
a vulture circling!

and like a fool, I ran—
ran again
without thinking

and as fools often do
I tripped—
tripped again
and hit

the hard ground hard

then found only empty sky above.

I tried to laugh
but as I lay on my back
I began to feel
my real adversary again—
the parasite of needless fear:

its chattering teeth
trying to devour
the will of my better desire—

I wanted to jump up and run!

But as I fought to find
the strength to stand
I woke again
to that other feeling—
a feeling buried deep:

so subtle, so quiet, yet so solid—

a knowingness that says: all is well
(despite what you think)

a knowingness beyond reason.

The parasite then lost its teeth
(for the moment at least)
and I stood up
and walked on…

another battle won.
 

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
dream steps blog

dear reader:

Allow me to repeat myself:

At my death, I hope someone says: “He fought the good fight.”
 

THE GOOD FIGHT

In the dream, I knelt down

into a circle of light
found on the floor
of a dusty dark tunnel

and in an instant
an upswell of energy
saturated me—a sensation
both buoyant and dense—

my whole being hummed
with the grand expansion

yet at the same time
I felt diminished
by a power so great:
consumed—overwhelmed

I soon woke in fear

and immediately lost the feeling

then cursed my weakness

as I often do
when I give in
to lower instinct
and reject what
my higher instinct desires.

However
I didn’t lose completely:

whenever I remember
that underground light
I can sense (just vaguely)
that force of peace
within me—

within me
yet frightfully foreign:

I doubt I could ever
live with that mysterious intensity
for more than
the occasional moment.

But no matter—
a recent dream shows me
determined to return—
fighting

through a dusty storm wind
toward a dim distant light

and though I feel so weak

the exhilaration spurs me on.
 

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
my war for peace: poetry ebook


 

author’s note:

Around every Fourth of July, I revisit this poem.

Full disclosure: I’m not always able to live up to these words.
 

DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

I’ll be damn if I’ll be terrorized
by anyone

including me—

I have looked into the mirror
and seen how mean I’ve been
to myself.

If I can face that monster
why should I cower
before those who lack
the courage to look
into their own reflections?

When they bombard me
my legs may tremble
but I won’t jump—
no, I’ll pirouette in triumph:
my dance will be my revenge!

Though they curse me to hell
I won’t curse them—
after all
I know the wounds
of their hellacious suffering.

On the other hand
I can’t sincerely bless them to heaven:

I haven’t yet healed myself
to that degree of empathy.

However
I have stopped
and stopped
and stopped
my monster from mirroring
their vitriolic violence

and maybe that’s blessing enough.
 

© 2017, Michael R. Patton
my war for peace: a poetry book

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