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author’s note:

I can dig it, he can dig it
She can dig it, we can dig it
They can dig it, you can dig it
Oh, let’s dig it
      — from “Grazing in the Grass” by The Friends of Distinction
 

DIGGING UP (or: WHY I PERSIST)

In sad frustration
I finally gave up
trying to jump—
jump up to heaven:

I just kept coming back down.

However
the desire for more
still agitated me without mercy

so
to release the impulse
I began to dig down
into the stubborn ground

and persist to this day
though the plunge of the shovel
often pains me as the blade cuts into
old abscessed wounds.

Yes, light may burst from the break
but after the flash, I feel diminished
because I’ve seen my blindness again

yet I persist

though in the dimness I often wonder
if the gold I’ve discovered
is really only costume jewelry.

Yet I persist and why not?—

this mound of dirt I’m piling up
is a pyramid rising, is it not?

Well, maybe yes, but maybe not
in any case, I will persist—because
even if I never find the mother lode
at least, I’ve found purpose
through this work

and anyway, I believe

if we want a glorious life
we must suffer the pain of healing—
we must struggle to open our eyes
and match doubt with faith

and anyway

you can’t fall down
when you’re digging.

Everywhere, everywhere—
so many people jumping.
 

© 2019, Michael R. Patton
searching for my best beliefs: poetry ebook

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author’s note:

So easy for me to forget to give thanks—even on Thanksgiving.
 

HOW HUMANS LEARNED TO GIVE THANKS

Because the first human was as he was
he demanded the fish
and the deer and the bird
lay down their lives
so he could live

and they said:

“We are the animals of the Earth
  so we must lay down our lives!”

and because he was as he was
the human told the tree to do the same—
he told the soil
he told the stream

and because they are as they are
all three laid down their lives
to give him a roof
a crop
and a dam.

Unfortunately, being as he was
the man did not see
he needed to heal the Earth
he had wounded
or else he would
collapse from the wound.

Fortunately
the wounded Earth was still
strong enough to heal itself
and also the human being
who’d wounded it

and so
after an agony
lasting forty nights
the man rose again.

Fortunately, being down
had changed his point-of-view—
now he sang a different tune:

“I am small, I am weak
  so the great Earth
  lays down its life
  for my sake.

“But after it has sacrificed
  I must revive that life
  or else, I am a dead man.”

Since then we humans
are not as we once were—now
we thank the Earth for gifts given
and heal that which we wound.

This myth…a story from our future.
 

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
dream steps blog

author’s note:

It is apparently more important to nature that one should have consciousness, understanding, than to avoid suffering.
             — C.G. Jung
 

HOW PAIN BECOMES BEAUTIFUL

In the dream
pain became beautiful

as I watched you
embrace the tree—
a lover finding the lover
who knows her need:

the need to heal
and be healed.

A symbiotic relationship
working by osmosis:

as you healed yourself
with the tree’s love
you fed the tree with your love

and so your eyes gleamed
on one of its emerald leaves

but many eyes appeared on the leaves above

next time
I hope to see mine

so I’ve renewed my vow
to open and embrace

despite the slow pain of surrender…
 

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
finding Beauty: poetry ebook

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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