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author’s note:

As a child, I learned that the forest has eyes.

Fortunately, I’ve never forgotten.


While walking in solitude
I’ve sometimes sensed
elements of the landscape
marking my steps:
a wild boulder, perhaps

or a sweet oblong cloud
slowing its pace
to look.

I believe such things
understand us well
because they once
lived as humans
in order to grow the soul

so when I’m among them
they see and know me
in my low weak glory:

that’s the only healing I ask.
I’ll provide the rest.

Maybe I should
what remains of my pride
and seek human help

but no one but me
can find my strength—
  yes, I want to confess
  but only after
  I’ve lifted myself
  up a bit.

So I will go to
the rivers and mountains—

as long as I respect
their silent mystery
they’ll watch over me
as I find and mend
what I’ve
so wantonly wounded.

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

gray leaves 323 gb - June 9, 2016s

author’s note:

I dedicate this poem to all those of my generation who hoped the Carlos Castaneda books were true accounts.

So, in part, I dedicate this poem to myself.


Once in a forest, alone
I tried to force my eyes open

driven by an impatient desire
to see the hidden world I sense—

I peered
into the secret darkness of the trees—
I stared—I squinted—
trying to penetrate

until nearly blind with frustration

then, in exhaustion
I sank down
to rest on a stump
by a dry brook…

but in the quiet blank
of this convalescence
I lapsed into
a timeless, effortless

my empty eyes began to fill
with the beauty
of a simply complex centipede
navigating a battlefield
of gray-brown leaves
between my feet—

this focus, so selfless
pillowed mind and heart

until the magical creature
disappeared into the stump

then the desire to see
the hidden
rose once again:

a drive not satisfied
by such soft comfort

so I stood up
to continue the hunt…

© 2016, Michael R. Patton
finding Beauty: the book

head hand - January 11, 2014s

author’s note:

It was blessed good fortune when I discovered the books of Robert A. Johnson.


I write to honor a woman
who hides in full view—

whenever I lose her
she watches and waits

as my stitches break open—

she will sew me back up
but I must first guide the thread
through the eye of the needle:

I must nurture her
before she can nurture me.

If you claim
you do not want her
I know your poverty—

I once tried
to leave her behind
because I thought
I needed to be tough
to make this trek
across the desert…

but finally I felt so weak
I had to stop
and as I gave myself up
I realized her presence
then realized her strength—

when I looked skyward
I found her gliding
in a fleet of sunlit clouds

then discovered her again
in the cloud shadows moving
across the brown sand.

At night,
she beams down upon me
from the eye of the moon

as I nestle into a boulder
shaped like her hand.

Some meet her by blessed accident:
a burglar opens a window to rob a jewel
and ends up leaving with the bride.

She comes to me
when I finally acquiesce
and allow myself
to experience perfection…

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
listening to silence: the book

leaf cloud 361w - December 31, 2014s

author’s note:

Wishing you many special moments in 2015…

But I guess they’re all special, if we can just see it.


Afternoon sunlight
touches a spider thread
and suddenly I see
a thin prism gleaming
between two limbs.

But the vision gained in an instant
is lost in the next—
my eyes tear, wanting to catch
that rainbow again—
but straining only frustrates.

So I return
to my imagination—
in this way, I’m comfortably blind
to the woods I walk in…

until another beauty
begs for acknowledgement:

a gold Maple leaf on the path—
its points curled up to form
a hungry cupped hand aflame…

the quiet surprise of this sight
stills the ricochet
of my scatter-shot mind

as if a soft halo had abruptly
nested down upon my head…

looking up
I find an orange Autumn cloud
gliding with stealth out of the North
—perhaps to observe me

but then in a blink, I’m alone again

both cloud and leaf dispersed
by a sudden wind…

alone again

but reawakened
to the mystery…

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
listening to silence: poems of meditation

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