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author’s note:

Just for the record: I love our scientists.


Science still can’t tell us
why we need to sigh

but we already know
when you lack adequate language
you breathe a deep sigh
and in that way
give pure voice
to the soul
and thus
relieve the heart.

My own four chambers
might have burst
long ago
if not for all those
large and small exhalations.

if I hadn’t sighed at the sight
of that stark violet mountain
my heart might have clunked
and quit—

might have stopped
had I not
sighed while watching
that snail crawl over
the pebble stones…

might have collapsed
awhile back
if not for those quiet occasions
when I find myself sighing
for a reason unknown:

at such times
if I listen down deep
I can feel
that strange sadness
and with it
the obscure wish.


sighs not only service
human hearts
but also those of animals—

I’ve heard a dog sigh
as well as a kitten.

Is it just
a mechanical response?—
or can a cat experience life
to the depths of a soul?

Maybe so
because one night
during a catastrophic dinner
I became a fraidy cat—
and chose flight over fight
but afterwards, in my sigh of relief
I heard the soul of my heart.

But whatever the reality may be
I believe it’s best if we believe
canines and felines
occasionally, soulfully sigh—

along with everything else
in this world:
a pigeon, a sturgeon—
even a tree—even
a stone—
they all hold the deep heavy wisdom
expressed by the sigh:

this whole damn planet sighs
this whole damn Universe—!

when I dive down
into the bottomless well
of my sigh
I can hear
that Universal sigh—
I can hear that sigh in mine

and then
despite the great distances
I feel and know
we are one in the sorrow…

we are one in the secret joy.

© 2017, Michael R. Patton
myth steps blog


snake marriage - November 9, 2014s

author’s note:

Why should we reject science?  We all perform experiments every day.  We’re all scientists.


Science has demonstrated…

two hearts will beat in synch
if two people–any two
stay together in the same small room
for twenty-four hours

—yes, their hearts will be in harmony—

a finding which seems to go against
what we’ve long accepted as hard truth:

close proximity creates friction, tension.

So how can we reconcile these two facts?

Well, based on
my own painful experience
I can honestly say:

in this small space
I’m quite able to remain
at odds with you
as long as I listen
to what I tell myself
in my head

while ignoring
what I hear in my heart.

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
listening to silence: the book

heart eye - February 12, 2014s

author’s note:

I wanted to revisit this poem on Valentine’s Day.  A good follow-up to the last poem, I think…

It’s not written to anyone in particular…

…but to everyone in general.


I wonder at you:

when I look into your eyes
I see there’s more there
than I can ever hope to see

so I can’t break away:

where there’s more
than can ever be seen
there is mystery—

there is beauty.

l want to witness your mystery
so I can remember
how beautifully strange
this life is—

realize again
the wonderful strangeness
of my own life:

my half-awake olive-drab eyes
become mysterious creations
when found in the black center
of your fathomless wells:

eyes that mirror my eyes—
eyes the same as mine
and yet, so different…

how strange.

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
Open All Night

cow storm - November 20, 2013s

author’s note:

I needed to return to this poem to do some additional rewrites…

Maybe three words now remain from the original version: “a”, “and”, and “the”.


Years ago,
when the thunder god
offered me a higher charge
I’d already learned to say
—“no thanks”—
to something so bold.

Though I usually can ignore
the power shortage,
such lack is still mourned
in the depth of the heart.

But lightning denied
      will find ways to strike back—!

In the burnt aftermath
of the unexpected jagged flash
sometimes I can admit my loss
—admit my grief—

following some natural law
a different type of light offers itself:
a saturated light, steady and strong—

still too foreign to me
for me to hold it
for more than an evening;

however, now sometimes
that light can flow down
without needing a lightning bolt
to knock a hole in my ceiling…

© 2013, Michael R. Patton

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