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author’s note:

As they say in the movies: based on a true story.


One misty childhood morning
I tried to lose myself
in a fog cloud
hovering across the field.

I ran—in a blur, I ran
over there
and then back
and then over there again—

the fog kept moving:

wherever I was
was where it was not.

Finally I had to stop for air
but as I wheezed and coughed
I suddenly realized
that though the fog had fled
I’d still eaten a bit of it
with every huffing breath—
I could feel the rasp
of its wet wisps
deep in my lungs.

And so I kept running:
I ran—I ran—I ran until
I’d cleared the field.

In class later that day
the teacher said The Sun
had evaporated that vapor

so if I could feel
the moist ephemeral fabric
burning down to damp ashes
inside me…

then I must be a sun

(albeit a small one).

That logic—
so fanciful
so egotistical—
later provided blessed perspective
for the adult the child became:

yes, I never seemed to catch
those fantasies I chased…

but as I ran here and there
and back again
wasn’t I always taking in
that which we call “life”?—

wasn’t I always clearing?—

wasn’t I always
living as a sun?

© 2017, Michael R. Patton
dream steps: a blog


zig zag carnival - July 20, 2014s

author’s note:

“I know an illusion when I see one.”
      — from Soultime by Michael R. Patton


Born into a carnival
I remain a child

puzzled by the colors
of all those lights

including the cruel flashes
that cause me to wince.

As a child I still try
to comprehend this vision,
as an adult, I’ve chosen
to keep my eyes open…

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
SOULTIME: the book

strut fret - April 30, 2012s

author’s note:

“Exploring the silence gives poetic thought birth.”
                          —  Pao Hsien
                               (trans. Paul Hansen)

“This world of dew
  is only the world of dew–
  and yet…and yet…”
                          —  Issa
                               (trans. J.P. Seaton)


The chaos slowly takes order
as I descend into silence

but silence is never absolute
—I always desire to go deeper into
the stillness of that bottomless pool…

and yet, too soon
the wild urge to erupt
rises within me

—I’m impelled to drama

to sound the stage—to assume
the pomp of the grand duke
with his duchess

but also to ride as the steadfast knight

to grub along as the earth-bound serf

to hunker and humble myself
as the monk with a begging bowl

to flourish
as the vineyard beauty of ringlet hair

and not stop there
but to be so many more—
from hermit to explorer.

Dazzled by the cornucopia around me
I’m compelled to load myself up
with as much experience
as I can possibly bear

but then
when I become over laden
—like a bee heavy with pollen
I ache to unburden myself
to cleanse myself

in the deep solitary pool of silence

and so I reign myself down
and again begin to delve
deep, then deeper—moving
toward a perfection
that gives the drama
greater meaning—

striving for that supreme silence
though I know it will always be
beyond my reach…

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
searching for the new mythology

find COMMON COURAGE on amazon

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