You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘light’ tag.

author’s note:

Again, a poem with uncertainty, an ocean, and release (see last post)…

Am I repeating myself?  I prefer to think: I’m exploring motifs.
 

FINDING MY SIZE

I woke to find
the waves of the night sea
had carried me
far away from shore–

my legs dangled
in a depth unknown
while cold waters rocked my body
as if I was a discard—

not so different
from how I usually felt
but I could usually ignore
how I usually felt.

Desperate
I searched for a landmark
I could aim myself towards

but black sky
had merged with black sea—
did I see low-lying stars before me?—
or were those the streetlights
along our shoreline drive?—
perhaps
I only saw the lamps
of my hopeful imagination.

I felt helpless as a dot—
a grain of sand about to sink.

I’d heard we all held
an incredible personal power

but as the current mocked
my assertion of free will
that idea seemed a lie
designed to protect
a fragile sense of self.

I then recalled the other story:
how at our lowest moments—
when we feel damn near empty—
the light will descend
through that opening
to rescue us.

Though I still can’t vouch for its truth
I guess belief saved me
because

when the clouds suddenly broke
and that big round Moon beamed
its spotlight down on me
in an instant, I felt safe—delivered—
I could surrender my doubt—
I could lay myself back and breathe—
free in my security.

The spirit of life filled me—
I felt myself swell

but as has happened in the past
I forgot to stop the inflation:

having shrunk down
to nothing
the pipsqueak in me
wanted to expand
to the size of that moon.

But in trying to be bigger
than I am
I lost the blessed moment
and like a beach ball
I then bounced back
to land upon the sandy shore—

back to my usual reality
and so
able to ignore again
how small I am
as well as how large.

Hopefully
next time I shrink down
I can remember
what I usually forget:

how I can be more
by becoming less
but can only maintain
that gain
by keeping my head
in check.
 


© 2017, Michael R. Patton
Myth Steps: a blog

Advertisements

night-mountain-light-db-db-february-20-2017sc

author’s note:

Easy to forget that we’re in outer space.
 

HEADLIGHT ON THE HILLTOP

Yeah—
what I saw was probably
just a car headlight
switching from low to bright
then from bright to low
up there on the hillside.

Nonetheless
the sight thrilled my heart
before I could stop to think

and when
the light blinked off
a few moments later
(or maybe it was an hour)
my eyes began to search
the heavens in hope

even as I told myself:
you’ll find nothing above
except a litter of stars

and indeed
though I did strain
that’s all I could see:
distant balls of gas

but so many…
more than I could possibly take in—

once again
I felt our universe to be
something so much greater
than my small mind
can comprehend…

once again
I felt microscopic
in the mystery—

wonderfully insignificant.

Yes, I told myself
probably just a headlight
beaming from low to bright
then from bright to low
over and over again

but even so…

a blessed event.
 


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

 

author’s note:

This poem, written on Christmas Eve 2007, has become my Christmas tradition…

But traditions change over time.  This year, I’ve added a subtitle.

 

CHRISTMAS BAT
(or: The Birth Pains of Winter)

In this season, when we recognize
the birth of bright new life
in the darkest dark…

I wanted to give you all
an appropriate poem
of sweet Christmas light

but my heart stubbornly refused
to sing of our ideal Yuletide—

instead, this bat poem
demanded to be born:

   Cold cave and dung—
   there I hung
   wet with stalactite drops

   until a vampire bat perceived
   how tedious torturous time
   had finally ripened me—

   its bite woke me up—
   those painful fangs burst me free!—

   so that I might soar
   and sow my seed.

Some poems won’t let you go
until you open their cage
so after I wrote that batty rhyme
I felt quite relieved

until the child within me said,
“Okay—
 now you can warm me
 with a real Christmas story!”

I tried (but in vain)
to placate
that hungry innocent
with this insight:

  doesn’t that flighty verse
  actually speak of Christmas?—

  of new life born
  from the darkest night?

 

© 2016, Michael R. Patton
Searching for My Best Beliefs: a poetry book

baseball-eye-b-red-bl2-september-22-2016s

author’s note:

I’ll put a lot of mental energy into developing a good belief…

…only to forget it when I most need it.
 

A BETTER MEASURE

The headline read:
“No Win for Corwin”

and the photo below showed him
sitting at the end of a hardwood bench
his head lowered
his shoulders slumped
his fist hidden in the darkness
of a baseball glove.

The article said
young Corwin had struck out
thirteen batters

only to wreck
all his good work
with one bad pitch
in the final at bat…

rough, yes
but maybe that loss
will help prepare Corwin
for adult life
because
we live by a crazy math
in which a positive “13”
is often seen
as less than negative “1”.

In response to such
unjust arithmetic
I long ago adopted
this simple homespun belief
(suitable for needlepoint):

when I look at what I’ve done
I see I must be trying
to teach myself, because
I’m always learning:

learning seems to be
our reason for being—
so I say
we should not measure success
by wins and losses
but instead
by understanding gained.

A belief supported
by my experience:

having known
a lot of blindness
but also a little bit of sight
I can say for certain:
ignorance is not bliss
understanding is.

However
even good beliefs breed doubt

and so I’ll sometimes wonder
if I’m only using this belief
to soften the pain of loss…

well, maybe I am, but maybe
that’s okay:

because in my darkest days
(when I’m slumped like Corwin)
if I can remember that belief

I’ll see a little light

or
on especially blessed occasions…
a lot.
 

© 2016, Michael R. Patton
myth steps: a poetry book

find COMMON COURAGE on amazon

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 614 other followers

Archives