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arrow spin b - May 15, 2016s

author’s note:

A companion poem to the last one posted.


One morning on
a two-lane highway
my car suddenly spun
over black ice

and when the backend
had whipped to a stop
I faced the place
I’d just abandoned.

In that abrupt moment of stillness
I finally felt the echoing shout
of a deeper knowing—the alarm
I’d tried so hard to ignore.

What I did then is what
I knew I had to do—
yes, I returned.

Though I’ve learned to listen
to intuition
when the message
goes against my wishes
I may still allow my stubborn will
to drive—to drive me

until I go into a spin, another spin

then I’m willing to listen again

to something greater within—something
that will spin me until I change direction—

until I do what must be done

as for why I must do what I must
I usually can’t see

maybe even afterwards.
Maybe even long afterwards.

As for this return
I can only say for certain…

while in the box
I willfully seized
the opportunity
to lower down deeper
into my depths.

I believe I’ve received
high compensation
for this work in the mine

and yet…and yet
at times
doubt haunts my head:

did I return, in truth, because
I was afraid to go on…?

but no
though afraid
I was more afraid
of what my intuition said.

To listen to intuition
is listen to the heart

and if I obey
what my heart tells me
I’ll always act with courage

when spinning in the dark.

© 2016, Michael R. Patton
myth steps blog


fish second thought b - May 8, 2016s

author’s note:

If asked to label the age we live in…

…I’d reply: it’s the Age of the Jump.


What do you do
when an inner voice tells you
to jump

luckily, I knew enough to know
not to leap from the window:

the message was a metaphor.

I understood
yet rejected the instruction
even after all the repeats.

You see
I’ve made many such metaphorical jumps
and at times landed hard

but even when softly on both feet
usually not in bright triumph

unlike what the authors
of all those shiny books
seem to promise.

So I argued with the message

until I’d found enough courage
to do what I knew I had to do—

what my heart felt to be true

and since I wasn’t pushed
I won’t complain if the landing
looks like another damn accident…
no, I’ll trust the result—I will still believe

that where I am
is where I need to be:

I find strength in that belief—
enough strength
to lift myself back to my feet.

© 2016, Michael R. Patton
myth steps: the blog

inner mongolia - May 25, 2014s

author’s note:

As stated in the poem, “I’ve learned not to resist”…

What I didn’t say is: I learned the hard way.


Sometimes, I can detect a voice

so deep within…almost alien

yet somewhat comforting
because it lies beyond
my screeches and wails:

a voice without language
a voice without sound—

what often tells me yes
when I hope for no
and no when I’m wishing for
a definite yes.

But I’ve learned not to resist.

What I haven’t learned yet
is the purpose behind
its instructions…

I can only tell you
what I trust to be true:

I trust it knows of “home”—

that it knows what needs to unfold
through work and time—that it knows
where I need to go to get to
where I need to be—

that it knows what’s required
to answer a desire—a basic desire

but not one driven by survival fear.

Such a concept feels overwhelming

…almost unbelievable…frightening.

And yet…I can’t stop listening.

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
OPEN ALL NIGHT: poems of our dream life

hand question - January 1, 2014s

author’s note:

The path is under your feet at
All times.
     —  Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Cloud Hands Edition

Best wishes for 2014.


Before I knew
about the hands
I did not need
this much trust:

not this much—not until
I began to think
one day

because one thought
led to another
and another


I started to wonder
if perhaps I could be
walking on cloud.

I knew that was not
supposed to be possible
but whatever lay
beneath my feet
did not feel so solid
and if you’ve never seen
what’s under your toes
how would you know?

I took a deep courageous breath
then looked down

and found all sorts of hands
providing a platform for my feet—

their palms uplifted, the fingers interlinked—
a solid cushion, a multi-hued mosaic:

a calm sea of hands as far as the eye could see—!

Since the hands were everywhere
I could walk anywhere
and still feel secure.

But what if I took a step—
   the wrong step—
and the hand
under my heel
gave way—?—

then where would I be?

Though these hands
had supported me in the past
how could I know
what they might do
in the future?

Now I wished
I’d never looked down,
never seen a single hand.
Now, each step felt treacherous—
I became afraid
to move
even one toe.

I stopped…dead still.

But then
the next logical thought
fell like a domino:
what if the hands now holding my feet
began to sink—?—

what if all the hands
began to sink
and kept on sinking—?—

then where would I be?

I didn’t know, I only knew
such sinkage would surely
happen to me.

So, I closed my eyes
and waited for the worst.

But though I waited
and I waited,
I went no lower…

nor, for that matter
did I rise
any higher

not a bit higher.

I couldn’t just stand there all day, could I?

Despite my fear,
I wanted to go on—
to take a step in any direction:
any direction
would be better
than being stuck
where I was.

Wherever I stepped,
wherever I went,
would just have to be
the place I needed to be.

So…I began to walk again

and the longer I have walked
the more I’ve felt the warmth
radiating up from each palm—

the more I’ve felt the intelligence
of the steady fingers and thumbs
beneath my soles.

Even so, my foolish head
is still learning to trust
the message of assurance
coming from my wise feet.

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
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