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author’s note:

A poem for our Winter season.


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


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”


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

gray leaves 323 gb - June 9, 2016s

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.


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

driven by an impatient desire
to see the hidden world I sense—

I peered
into the secret darkness of the trees—
I stared—I squinted—
trying to penetrate

until nearly blind with frustration

then, in exhaustion
I sank down
to rest on a stump
by a dry brook…

but in the quiet blank
of this convalescence
I lapsed into
a timeless, effortless

my empty eyes began to fill
with the beauty
of a simply complex centipede
navigating a battlefield
of gray-brown leaves
between my feet—

this focus, so selfless
pillowed mind and heart

until the magical creature
disappeared into the stump

then the desire to see
the hidden
rose once again:

a drive not satisfied
by such soft comfort

so I stood up
to continue the hunt…

© 2016, Michael R. Patton
finding Beauty: the book

Hum 326w - June 7, 2015s

author’s note:

If you’d like to hear me attempt to pronounce “subliminally”, click on the little square picture at the bottom of this poem.


One night, I felt so dead
I finally silenced myself down
hoping I might detect a heartbeat

only then did I perceive
the steady hum of a bee
echoing from deep within

and in finding that sound
I found my life again.

Since then,
I’ve learned how to listen
—and not just to my own bee
   but also to the bees of others:

anytime anyone speaks
the hum of her bee
vibrates beneath the words—

its delicate frequency nearly inaudible

and yet the message
is still received—subliminally—
we secretly share secrets
in innocent conversation:

as you and I talk
my bee might describe
how I ran, hoping in vain
the air would lift my feet

and your bee might tell me
how you spin lively
even though you seem to be
bogged down in a dark swamp.

In these bee exchanges
we get to express
our fears
our embarrassments
our triumphs
our grief…

My bee might likely mention
how this captive met his sentence
with growls and howling

until he finally accepted
what that hum kept repeating:

true progress is a tedious process

power should rightly wear a harness

strength can only grow slowly…

the bee told me:
a barrel of honey is always birthed
drop by drop by drop.

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

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