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snowman sweat 354h - January 7, 2015s

author’s note:

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

 
THE EXTRAORDINARY BURDEN OF BEING HUMAN

In my fearful dreams I nearly drown

then wake to find
my sleep repeated
on the morning news:

the extraordinary burden
of being human
might sink us all.

I tried to avoid that weight
by becoming a skylark

but while rushing to
the high altitudes
    I lost my head
    I lost my feet—
I couldn’t control
my giddy uncertainty
and went into
a downward spin.

Now
in order to stabilize
this fledgling flight
I dive and dive into
a deep cave pool
and meet the secrets
of my fear:

down there in the darkness
I find a magnificent light—
a merciless light

that shows me the best and worst
of this human I am:

as I work to accept both
I also learn to accept
the flaws of our best

and better understand
the pain of our worst—yes
I’m learning to accept
the worst in us

and when my little man
rejects this wisdom
I remind myself:

the extraordinary burden
of being human
weighs down upon us all.

 

© 2015, Michael R. Patton

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