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author’s note:

It’s not my trail—it’s our trail.


When I first glimpsed
that mountain peak
I believed

I’d seen my destiny:

I believed
I finally understood
the purpose
of this rising trail.

as I continued to step
I did so with intent.

I’ve doubted the reality
behind my stated aim
because clouds and other
atmospheric conditions
usually keep the peak
hidden from me.

Fortunately, the work
of putting one foot
in front of the other
distracts my mind
from excessive worry

that is
until fatigue finally catches me

then I’ll begin to wonder if
I’m actually making progress
or if what I seek even exists.

And so, I’ll stop
and gaze upward
once again—
desperate for
another glimpse…

and indeed
with patience
I’ll eventually see a gleam
of purple and gold:

an image experienced
as a vision—
proclaimed by the spirit
to be truth.

with doubt diminished
and hope renewed
I’ll continue to continue.

Though my heart will want to wait
for another bright beam
I know, from experience:
to linger longer
will only slow my progress

and to walk while looking up
is a sure way to trip and fall.

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


rosey mountains 436w - August 1, 2016s

author’s note:

If I thought these poems only related to my own experience, I wouldn’t bother to publish.


A miracle birth occurred
the moment your storm
collided with mine:

though born with
a bumpy riot of a heartbeat
that monster baby refused to die—

even when stuffed in a box
and buried far underground
the life of our union bled upward
through black volcanic rock

to burst forth and blast us again:

a difficult child and yet
its twisted limbs forced us
to find our strength

and in the process of finding
we climbed

up this divine rosy mountain
of dark thorny crosses

until we’d gone as far as we could go

then the blessed beast slipped
our tightest grip.

Now, as the clouds slowly slowly clear
I’m beginning to see our accomplishment.

And yet…
on one of my stormy nights
I may fall back to being small
and again try to imagine
the freedom I could’ve enjoyed
had I done as I’d once planned
and traveled alone…

but when I wake to find myself
in the mud of such regret
I just push myself back up

and keep on climbing…

© 2016, Michael R. Patton
dream steps: a blog

monkey grind - July 13, 2014s

author’s note:

A companion to the last poem posted…

Buddhist teaching tells us that the mind is a monkey chained to a post.

My monkey seems to have a very long chain.


At birth, I was blessed
and burdened
with an active bag of monkeys:

a musical carnival

and a test.

Though I did enjoy the party
the cacophony often drove me
to seek the still mountain lake.

A conflict, I thought
because I wanted to be
two places at once

but no—now I realize
my stillness has little validity
if I remain on the mountain:

the greater challenge
and the greater fun
comes from trying
to keep my gyro steady
after I’ve rejoined
the rowdy simian dance.

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
MYTHSTEPS: the blog

mountain drive - March 5, 2014s
author’s note:

I’ve decided to alter the Sisyphus myth of the ancient Greeks…

I think we need something more encouraging—to my mind, it’s a better truth.


I present myself as an exhibit
of a necessary human hunger—

necessary, even though
this drive nearly kills us—kills me:

I move my feet
so as not to be devoured
by my hunger—
I climb mountains
desperately trying to satisfy
its goading goatlike appetite:

it demands more
no matter how high I go.

In my blind innocence
I feel my way along
and every strong round stone I touch
becomes part of my sustenance—

every watery cave becomes a cookstove.

Now I love
even the tedious steps
having come to realize
each one nourishes me.

So, I’m not disappointed
when I reach the mountain top
and still feel the yearning—

no, I can hardly wait for Morning
when I again begin at the bottom
of yet another mountain—

another, but with its base
rising from the peak of the last.

I can’t rest in this struggle
to feed my driving hunger
but without this desire
I wouldn’t be alive…

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
Glorious Tedious

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