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author’s note:

I believe we’re all working in the same way…

…and we never retire.
 

ON THE OTHER SIDE OF MY EYELIDS

Years ago, I woke to find
a whirling circle of sun-fire
descending from a fog
hovering above me—

threatening
yet harmonious—
like the aerial view of a hurricane:
a swirling blaze
of orange and gold tentacles
spiraling
into a cool aqua eye.

I felt myself lift—drawn in
despite the fire

and in sudden response
the eye expanded
to envelop my vision
so I could know
how the soft surface hue
deepens down into
a well of cobalt blue—

ominous and yet
I wanted to dive in

but in an instant—by instinct—
I shut my shocked eyes

and found relief
for my palpitating heart
in that old familiar darkness

however…
amid the growing stillness
I could sense
the awakening desire
of a higher instinct.

In answer
I tried to open again
but soon learned:
I’d not yet earned
more than that brief glimpse.

Ever since
I’ve worked to build
the strength needed
to accept
that which I want
yet fearfully reject.

Yes—
in fatigue, I often sloth

but even then
I can sense the mystery lurking
on the other side of my eyelids

so I remain tantalized…

driven.
 


© 2017, Michael R. Patton
myth steps blog

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dark eyes 310w - March 4, 2015s

author’s note:

In recent dreams, I’m going to a new college.

So, at the very least, I’ve graduated from high school.
 

AN EDUCATION IN THE PIT

When the sky broke open on the first day

in fear of the sudden light
we ran into a cave to hide

and prayed until we’d built
enough courage
to venture back out

but as we felt our way
down the maze of dark tunnels
we became confused

and so, we’ve wandered lost
through the cave to this day…
                             We manage

to comfort ourselves
by forgetting about our blindness

but are reminded
whenever we hit a stalactite
or collide with a bat

or worse yet—
fall into a pit:

an event that can either be
a great motivator or
a hard defeat

depending on whether or not
you can imagine a brighter world:

a world in which
we will find our way
out of the shadows
by the light beams shooting
from our wide-open eyes.

But maybe you think
I speak without knowing
because I’m still down here
in the depths.

To that, I answer:
you can learn a lot in a pit

especially if
you want so badly to be free—

I’ve taught myself,
using all sorts of sources

including the teachings
of those who saw how
to climb their way out…

and what do the wise ones tell me?

You’re the only one
   who can open your eyes.

 

© 2015, Michael R. Patton
finding Beauty: the book

on wings of clam - August 4, 2013s

author’s note:

“No one sees you working in the basement…

“…and no one should.”
                        — anonymous
 

ON THE WINGS OF A CLAM

Only the dog saw her
strip on the beach and wade out
into the darkening waters

as if she’d been hypnotized
by the sunset on the horizon—

as if she’d surrendered
to a glowing moon
seen in a hypnotic dream.

Family and friends comforted themselves
by imagining she had finally flown
to some oval island where she could be
a bird flower bursting into bloom.

But in truth, she did what clams usually do:

she sank to the bottom

to subject herself
to the ever-increasing pressures
of the lower depths

so that a fist might break open
and become a hand…

so that a flower bud might achingly blossom.

Hands are like wings when they open
because they can lift so many others

and when her hands finally bloomed
we found her standing, dripping wet
shining brilliantly on the sand:

a sun flower

but also a pearl
glowing in the moonlight.

Still shining, these days, still glowing
as she attempts to tell us
about that which can never be
adequately expressed

and because what can never be
adequately expressed
cries out so urgently
for expression
she stutters and fumbles
and humbles herself
as she delivers her story…

yet the feeling behind her words
opens us and lifts us up

to stand on her tall shoulders.

© 2013, Michael R. Patton
dream steps

author’s note:

Poetry seems to me the best way to try to say what can not be said.  To try.
 

STAR EYE

Sometimes I wish
I could ignore
that star eye spur.

After all, I found
my solid foundation
not in yearning for the heavens
but in burrowing down—

I wasn’t even trying
the one time I ascended
into the blazing center
of that star diamond

but such accidents
happen by design—

that once was enough
to keep me working
to return to a vast depth
so high above…

but connected, I’ve discovered
to the rich depth far below

so I continue to burrow.

If I now say to you:
“I just can’t explain”
maybe you’ll understand
what I mean:

if you already know
how words are insufficient—

if you already know
how the held memory
of these brief events
makes one’s fire burn
hotter, sharper
(even years afterwards)

then you must be a dazed fool too—

sprung maybe only once
but once is so much—!—
lifted by that blessed
star lightning.

(At the end of this lonely journey
 we’ll talk together
 because what can not be said
 still needs to be expressed.)

© 2011, Michael R. Patton
searching for the new mythology

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