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author’s note:

When a man hears angels singing
he hears angels singing.
           — Mary Oliver
 

THE FABLE OF THE SONGBIRD & THE FROG

When the songbird told him
you’re no match for me
the bullfrog countered:

by who’s measure?—

yes, many have opened
their windows to your song

but the few who’ve opened to mine
recognize a beauty less obvious
so aren’t they more refined?

Only a wise heart can find
the aria hidden within
my harsh slimy croaking.
 


© 2018, Michael R. Patton
myth steps: poetry ebook

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author’s note:

I dedicate this poem to all those of my generation who hoped the Carlos Castaneda books were true accounts.

So, in part, I dedicate this poem to myself.
 

MEDITATING UPON A CENTIPEDE

Once in a forest, alone
I tried to force my eyes open

driven by the desire to see
the mysteries
of a spirit world I sense
all around me.

For many minutes I peered
into the darkness of the trees—
I stared—I squinted—
trying to pierce the curtain

until nearly blind with frustration…

finally I sank down to rest
on a stump by a dry brook

but in the quiet defeat
of this convalescence
I slowly forgot myself

as my empty eyes began to fill
with the grand beauty
of a centipede
humbly soldiering
through a rich wasteland
of gray-brown leaves:

such intelligence in those little legs!

I watched until
the tails disappeared
into a miniature door
at the base of the stump

but a few more moments passed
before I came back to myself—
suddenly I realized
I’d entered an elevated state—

maybe now
the mysteries of the world
would open to me—!

But that desire, returning so abruptly
broke the peace
and I returned to being the lesser being.

Thus
the secrets I wished to see
remained secrets.

I then cursed my impulse

until I realized:
without this drive
I could not endure
the tedious process of opening
to the truth of a hidden world
we all secretly know.
 

© 2017, Michael R. Patton
myth steps blog

pink-mushrooms-gray-b-p-b-january-22-2017sc

author’s note:

A poem for our Winter season.
 

IN THE GARDEN OF DEAD LEAVES

The garden of dead leaves taught me:

beneath the surface
of that stagnant black pond
rich life multiplies.

The garden taught me:

slow decay in the shadow
will suddenly blossom into
circles of pink mushroom.

The garden told me:

don’t worry—
you’re exactly where you need to be…
 

© 2017, Michael R. Patton
Searching for My Best Beliefs: a poetry book

whale-spout-792-db-b-db-october-21-2016sc

author’s note:

With regret, I cut these two lines from the poem below:

“When I realize my true size
 I don’t try to act so big”
 

WE ARE WHALES

The larger part
of human life
remains hidden
beneath the waves:

we are blue whales—
our secret language echoes
through vast expanses of ocean

so when I go below
I can hear you again
then feel you again—
you are not lost to me

and if I dare to go
even deeper down
I may hear the whole herd:

at such rare times
I am overwhelmed
by our whale song.
 


© 2016, Michael R. Patton
Listening to Silence: a book

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