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gates - August 25, 2016sc

author’s note:

Dedicated to the memory of Gisela Kirberg.  Someone who understood the value of a good fairy tale.


As a boy, I believed
a pot of gold greeted Noah
at the end of the rainbow
after his 40 days and 40 nights
of storm

so now, whenever I behold a rainbow
the child in me rises to sing
of how the door of that arch
will someday—finally—open for me
and I’ll step over its threshold
into a golden new life.

A foolish hope, perhaps
but as an adult, I’ve learned
to listen to the child

while also
checking its wishes against
the demands of the soul-self.

and regarding this wish,
I’m pleased to report
the soul-self says “yes”

while also telling me
what I must risk and sacrifice
in order to achieve it.

Though I’ve learned to obey…

the reasonable adult in me
often feels doubt.

So, for reassurance
I tell myself the story
of the blessed fool who became a frog
as a way to survive all the rain and mud

then hardened
into gray lead
as a way to withstand
all the lightning.

But blinded by
the confusion of his storm
the fool was unaware
he’d transformed
until the day he finally
asked himself why
he felt so odd…

that question cleared the clouds
long enough
for him to see
he’d become a lead frog

he then realized
that the danger of remaining
as he was
was greater than the danger
of becoming something other

and so
from that point forward
he gladly embraced
the slow
painful process
of alchemy

and as a result
after 40 days and 40 nights
(in storybook time)
the husk of the dead lead frog
opened up
and a golden prince
leapt out.

I know some will say
a fairy tale is merely
comfortable refuge
for fools who still believe

but I say…
this story has remained
in constant circulation
because we’ve witnessed its truth
in the bios of so many
who’ve lived some version
of that journey—

many of whom likely told
some version of the tale
to themselves for reassurance
occasionally, along the way

until they’d finally
finally—opened the door
and stepped over the threshold.

they kept on repeating it
but now for the benefit
of us other blessed frogs.

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


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


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.

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

gold cross 275 - December 14, 2014s

author’s note:

As the darkest day of the year approaches…

…I say it’s a good time to find our gold.


Someone told me:
if you touch this gold piece
you will understand
our human life…

but afterwards,
though a little more enlightened
I still could not see
as clearly as I wished.

that one touch did awaken me
to a stubborn desire
only dimly sensed before:

this life of mine
would be devoted to finding
the light of gold—

a quest with so many frustrations:

what I discovered
often did not touch me
in the way that I had hoped

and what did provoke
might later fail to move me
when I returned
expecting a repeat.

At times, this world
seemed dead to me—

a false perception, yes
but a helpful one because
I then turned within

and by digging, I again found gold

in the dark—my progress so slow

but the vein steady

waiting patiently to be uncovered…

and the more I raised
the more the landscape outside shone…

but no–
the outside had always shone:

I just didn’t see, didn’t feel before

how this world constantly
touches me, provokes me—

moving me to show
my own gold in response.

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
myth steps: the blog

hair raising sight - October 27, 2013s

author’s note:

May your Halloween be dark and scary!


We need one volunteer
to stick a hand down
into this vast vase—
into this earthenware vessel

it’s so densely dark within—
we can’t see past the edge
and so, we’re burning to know
what might be at the bottom.

Though someone heard
the faint rattling of a snake
I believe it’s the luscious lucky sound
of gold striking gold
echoing up from the depths—

a finer coin than any we’ve ever known:
those tones lift our hearts
with their soft breezy hands—!—

so please, reach down deep, for all our sakes—

if you don’t have arm enough, then dive in
and we’ll send you our blessings

though what harm could possibly come—?—
after all, it’s just a large jar
and anyway, someone must descend
because we’re so damn curious—

thus, we beg of you: go—go!
that must be reason you came here.

Otherwise, why would we ask you?

How can you refuse
such a reasonable request—?—
especially since you now know
you might be the one chosen…

© 2013, Michael R. Patton
these poems are open all night

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