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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

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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 the stagnant black pond
rich life multiplies.

The garden taught me:

moist decay in the shadow
will magically 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

door ways border 279w - May 27, 2015s

author’s note:

Recently, someone asked me how I find contentment…

Not something I usually think about…but I do know that I can find it by discovering beauty in the commonplace.
 

ANOTHER WORLD

Sometimes I sense the presence
of another world

lurking like a monolith
—like a dark castle gate—
somewhere over my left shoulder

but when I turn to witness
I find only a blank space

nonetheless,
I can feel the absence
and so, that world
still seems real to me:

I’m tantalized—
for years I’ve searched
for the pass key:

so much work and yet
I remain frustrated…

except in odd quiet moments
that come to me suddenly—

in that stillness, this mundane world
is seen again, felt again, heard again

known again
but known differently—
known as strange:

even the stones seem to brim with life

or especially the stones

even old familiar doors
hold mystery

or especially those doors.

At such times,
whatever object I experience
becomes a door slowly opening:

I discover secrets everywhere.

After such times, I wonder:

did I step through the mirror?—
did I pass through the gate?
 


© 2015, Michael R. Patton
dream steps: the blog

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