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author’s note:

He’s so fine
Do-lang do-lang do-lang
       — “He’s So Fine”, lyric by Ronald Mack
 

GRIND DOWN FINE

Now I can accept
the feeling of being lost
as I walk this land–
now I can accept
the feeling
of shouldering a burden

because I have accepted
these beliefs:

my steps, though confused, have a purpose—
a hidden path, a plan:

just look how strong I’ve grown

with the weight of this unseen stone
on my back—
a stone incessantly turning.

Yeah
the stone grinds me down
as it turns

but I’m ground down fine.

As I lose
so much of what I was
I’m slowly discovering
the finer me
I’m meant to be

and in the process
leaving a trail—

imagine a trail of corn meal
others may feed upon
and follow

if they feel lost
if they need sustenance
if they struggle
to accept this path
—this burden:

they can feed on me
just as I’ve fed on many
who’ve gone before me

they can feed on us
just as those who follow them
will feed on them—

yes
like you, like me
they will leave
a trail of corn meal
as they find their way—

as they
grind down fine.
 


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

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author’s note:

In my experience, dreams don’t lie.
 

THE WAY TO THE KINGDOM

Last night I wished
to escape on the beach

but a dream came to pain me
with golden possibility.

In the scene I was both slave and king

but the king slumped—
useless in his sleep

and so
the slave had to carry his master
through dark forests
through swamps

but found enough strength
in this belief:

as long as he ventured forth
with sincere intent
whatever direction he chose
would return them
to the kingdom

then the king would awaken
and he, his servant
would no longer live as slave.

This dream might seem to be
little more
than a fanciful child’s tale

nonetheless
when I woke from it
I knew again
how lost I usually feel

but also
the strength of my hope.
 


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

note circles - January 29, 2016s

author’s note:

The path is under your feet at
All times.
      — Lao Tzu
 

SEARCHING FOR A SHADOW

I told the wise one
how a wild light had infused my blood

and forced me up from my bed
on the longest night
to walk in a naked fever
over fields of fiery ice

until a shadow fell across my path:

a monolithic silhouette stood before me
framed by massive full moon—

a giant unknown
raised an arm, aimed a spear
straight at my heart

but as the moonlight glinted
off the arrow tip, I blinked
and woke to break the spell

though relieved
I felt weak
with disappointment—

I knew, intuitively
I’d allowed my lower instinct
to block fulfillment
of a grand encounter.

But the wise one refused
to sympathize, saying:
what you now search for
may appear again today
as you walk down the street

but most likely you will wander
for an era that will seem like an eon

until you’ve built the strength
to match the challenge

until you have risen above
a natural fear you can never release…

and then what? I asked
(though the question seemed childish).

Afterwards, you’ll return
to find me gone

and your story
will join a Sun chorus of voices—
   each one singing
   its own version
   of the same song.
 


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

author’s note:

“We sit together, the mountain and me,
 until only the mountain remains.”
         — Li Po (trans. Sam Hamill)

Yes, I’ve had moments such as the one described by Li Po.  I cherish such moments.

But my more typical mode is the one described below.
 

A MOVING DESIRE

Stubbornly determined
to become a better being—

to be an open doorway—
to break my door open—

to be stub grass
willing to surrender
everything but my roots
in order to feed the needs
of blessed sheep…

so I sit down by the waterfall
—up near the clouds—
to try to meditate my way
to such a perfected state

when a different impulse
propels me to jump

then to swim like a snake
after I come up—

an impulse that plunges me
into deep mine pits

so I can crawl out
by my bruised finger-
tips.

That pulls me to climb
a rope that I doubt.

That pummels me to sing
through a throat
stuffed with ice—

so as to canonize my impediments.

Though I’m still impelled toward quiet
this more forceful impulse tells me
I’m not fit for the contemplative life—

this louder hunger apparently
is my better way
to become a better being

and honestly,
I wouldn’t trade this joy
of learning the hard rules
of wheels and pulleys,
of sweating long hours
fitting together pipe
to bring water
to fields where I fight
boll weevils and blight.

In the process
the door slowly opens,
in the process
I sacrifice for what few sheep
I can now afford to feed.

© 2010, Michael R. Patton
audacious audio

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