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author’s note:

I know something about choking on silence.
 

JOY / GRIEF

Today “happy / unhappy”
are merely words of make-believe

because today, I feel joy

because today, I feel grief—

joy and grief in death and life:

those forces of emotion swirl
together in a wind dance
—defying my control—

I can’t possibly express
a spiral so volatile
so grandly powerful

but if I don’t try
I’ll choke on this silence

and anyway
no matter what I rave
I think you’ll understand—

after all, as a human
you’re probably well-acquainted
with whirlwinds

so you’ll tolerate
this spinning man
as he shouts:

these forces of feeling
steal our breath

these forces of feeling
give us new breath.

 

dream steps blog
© 2017, Michael R. Patton

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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

gold dust leaf full br b words - August 15, 2016sc

author’s note:

…and the street of the city was pure gold…
                  — Revelation 21:21
 

GOLD DUST

Though I glimpsed
fragile frost sparkling
amid the fur of that green moss
I rejected the urge
to stop and explore
with my hungry fingertips.

Later, while under
the bare branches of the trees
I sensed a mystery in the wind
but at such a fast pace, I mostly missed
the multi-layered voice
of the long brown grass.

Then, at the end of this rush
I poured water down my gullet
until my belly felt pleasantly plump
but because I forgot to focus
I lost the bright flavor of the ice.

So much gold I’ve diminished to dust.

Nonetheless
sometimes I’ll allow something
to break through my somnolence—

for instance:

the time when
the bird perched vertically
on that tall weed stem—

I felt such admiration
for the way it held on
with those small taunt claws

then I was dazzled again
as the wren vanished
in a flash of flutter and feather
drawing my child-mind to the sky
where I beheld
a low cloud sliding swiftly by:

in that blessed instant
my dormant neurons suddenly blazed up
with unspeakable white intensity

but soon
(like the earth-bound soul I am)
I followed the natural inclination
to lower my eyes back down to this world—
a world now beaming
with so many varieties of gold:

the gold I usually ignore

but even then, it’s not lost:
whether I’m aware or not
I’m taking in all this treasure
with every living moment.

I believe after death
we’re finally able to realize
the riches we’ve accumulated
through our human existence.

But until then I can at least
force myself to occasionally brake
to see and feel and hear and taste
and in that way, remind myself:

in this dusty life
I walk on streets of gold.
 


© 2016, Michael R. Patton
myth steps: a blog

tactilely challenged bbb w - July 17, 2016s

author’s note:

“Tonight’s forecast…dark.”
        — George Carlin
 

THE WOUNDED BEAST

Caught
in the cloud of my storm—cracked
   by my own lightning
I fumbled blindly—
desperately trying
to find my way free

until my hand landed
on the trembling hide
of that fearful growling animal.

In the past, I’d fled
and been attacked
so now I tried to ease
the headless beast
with fingertips and words

but hurt is never so simple:
when the rumble within
had finally settled to a murmur
I detected beneath the layers
an incessant funeral sob of loss

then listening more intently
I felt the groans of a battlefield aftermath:
a slow steady pain
from wounds beyond number

but the many were really just one.

I knew then my work
as doctor and nurse
would never be complete.

Faced with such a task
how can I fault myself
for sometimes abandoning
the grind of healing?—

and if I absolve myself
how can I blame anyone else
for failing to engage
with the wounded beast?—

and yet, I do
occasionally rage
at our willful blindness—

yes, I rumble and crack

until blinded once more
by the cloud of my storm

then I must listen again
with feeling
to regain my sight.

I’ve much more to learn
but I do know for certain:
feeling is essential to healing…

feeling is listening is seeing.
 


© 2016, Michael R. Patton

My War for Peace: a book

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