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author’s note:

Highly recommended: The Fisher King and the Handless Maiden, by Robert A. Johnson.
 

MEETING THE WOUNDED WOMAN

After waking from the sight
of a wounded woman
knee-deep in a dark swamp…

I remembered what I’d read:

the “she” a man meets
in his dream
lives within him.

But though still alive
my receptive side
obviously didn’t feel so well—
after all, she’d lost a hand.

But how and when?—
I did not know…
however

as I pondered
the blank shock
in her blue eyes
I began to feel
what she must have felt
during whatever crime
caused the loss—
what she still feels
in the long aftermath:

horror at a savagery both rabid
and casual—
stunned confusion
at an injustice unpunished.

I could feel
the frozen fire
of her righteous anger

but also sensed
warm moist ashes of grief
beneath that ice.

I then understood why
a violent dream may follow
a routine mundane day:

if forced to confront
our deep wounds
during the waking hours
how could we complete transactions
or work with movable parts?

But we don’t occasionally confront
and deal with that truth
those wounds may kill us.

So, I need my horrific dreams—
painful though the awakening may be
I need to dream of a woman
missing a hand.

I can shelf that secret
in the back room
while I’m totaling receipts

then afterward
return to learning
how to heal the life
that gives me life.

Progress is slow, of necessity
but when I feel discouraged
I think of the green lizard dream:

how the little fellow sang with joy
because he’d finally managed
to grow his tail back—

he sang of sensitivity regained
he sang of better balance—
such fun, being functional!

That regeneration
must’ve cost a lot of energy
but what a return—
his song sounded so strong!
 

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

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author’s note:

I never had anyone tell me a dream where afterwards my life had changed for the better.
      — Richard Ford, from Writers Dreaming, by Naomi Epel
 

THE SUCCESS OF MY FAILURE

I hesitate to tell the dream

because my clumsy words
will trample its textured elegance

but we are cursed
with the blessed desire
to express the inexpressible

and though I will fail
I may still succeed
if the place I describe
reminds you of a place
from your own dreams

and so you again know
a feeling inexpressible.
 

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
dream steps blog

author’s note:

“In the Spring, a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.”
              — Tennyson

And maybe an older man’s fancy too.
 

YOUR GREEN SLIP

The moment
I glimpsed your green slip
I felt myself lift

up
out of that dark underground artery—

hooked by a hunger
I wanted to ignore
but also wanted to obey

and obeyed, because
I knew I would return

to explore
as monks long have—
believing
as fools long have:

if we plot enough coordinates
in this confusion of tunnels
we’ll eventually realize
the magnificence of a labyrinth

and know just where we are.

But today, I’ll obey the hunger
and maybe tomorrow too

because to live with confusion
we must occasionally forget
our confusion
by giving and receiving
in the manner
of kittens and puppies.
 

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
myth steps blog

author’s note:

Up from the bottom
   of an old pond,
   that duckling
has seen something strange.
       — Joso (trans. Beilenson/Behn)
 

DREAMING THE WOUNDED EAGLE

When the eagle plummeted from the sky

straight down into the lake

I felt so confused:
how could anything so powerful
crash—?—
how could something so grand
simply vanish—?

I awoke in such an astonished state—
I could not think

and so, began to feel
the desperate message
in my depths–

a message maybe a few
(or maybe many)
could also use
so I will translate
what the eagle silently told me:

now you’ve seen the wound—

so maybe now
you will go against
lower instinct
and push yourself down
and down
and down
into this shocking cold water—

will you finally save me?

Since that dream message
I’ve gone on countless dives
and though I can’t yet claim
to have resurrected the eagle…

considering what I have raised
I can say:

I’m glad I disobeyed
the fear that warned me
to stay on dry land.
 

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
myth steps blog

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