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woods stone b 523 - June 26, 2016s

author’s note:

Though I cut these three lines from the poem below, I think they bear repeating:

the water told her:
that palace belongs to you
so you don’t need a prince


She ceased to be a handmaiden
when she stumbled and fell
while gathering wood
and awoke

to see the black forest blazing
with the white light of a palace

for an infinite moment

then woke again
into a darkness deepened
by the absence of that light—
awoke knowing
her long sojourn had begun:

the nebulous desire
that had frustrated her former life
now focused toward the golden goal
of finding the gate
to that magical palace of light

and with focus, that desire grew

but as a result
her frustration did too.

she survived her many fearful inner storms
because she knew enough stories to know
this path wouldn’t lead to splendor
without hardships such as
briars, boils, boredom,
lightning bolts, boars, mosquitoes,
cold ghosts and unknown shadows.

she finally tripped
on the worst malady of all:


shouldn’t I be there by now?
she wondered
haven’t I already earned the key?

but this time when she fell
she landed at the stream
and on its singing mirror
found, to her surprise
the white blaze
in her dark eyes.

The water told her:
that castle doesn’t reside
in any candy kingdom
but stands firm
on your own solid earth—

it’s not made of fairy dust
but of your stone and oak and darkness

with a white light
glowing from the open door and windows—
indestructible…as all light is.

At the stream, she realized
what she’d long known deep down:

how she creates
that functional structure
with every searching step she makes
in this black forest.

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


ride the dragon 269w - May 31, 2015s

author’s note:

Some days I’m dragon…and some days I’m draggin’.


After reading those childhood storybooks
I decided I should be a hero—

I wanted the best for myself.

But where were the dragons?
Where were the fair maidens?

How might I realize my high ambition?

In many of those stories
the great situation arrives

the quest suddenly trumpets…

with that in mind,
I would hope and wait

and fill the time by doing
whatever chores needed to be done:

I planted seeds, I pulled weeds
I stirred a wild stew

(my ingredients included
old shoes
and a bullfrog’s blues)

I cleaned rotten leaves from gutter pipes

and harder yet: I dug up stumps.

I did so much
but no matter how much,
never enough:

I fished a lake for sustenance
I carried jars of water from the well

and sometimes felt discouraged:
should a dragon-slayer be doing
such low household work?

I could feel the strength
slowly growing in my hands

and what is a hero if not strong?

I asked myself:
am I not making peace with a dragon
as I sit here alone—

I’m rescuing myself
—not with grand flourishes
but in gradual steps—

and perhaps in the process
also helping the rest of the world

and what is a hero if not helpful?

So though I still wait
for the great situation
I now work joyfully

by this never-ending quest.

© 2015, Michael R. Patton
myth steps: the blog

sailboat tree - July 23, 2014s

author’s note:

I was once told that the lost continent of Atlantis could be found in Missouri.  Seriously.

I’ve been to Missouri.  It ain’t there.


As I awoke Sunday
I again felt the fading
of a subtle strength—
the warmth and wisdom
of a greater life

back into my depths…

As before, dissatisfaction
flooded the void left in the wake—
a deeper hunger

stole all taste from my regular food.

But this time I’m not deflated—
mad desire has finally overwhelmed me
and filled my empty sail:

my ears begin to buzz
with that hollow surf roar
that comes when
trivial thought falls away
as I focus on a worthier goal—

a mission.

But my navigational tools
were designed for a life
I must abandon as
I set out on this voyage:

now, I’m forced to trust
what the wise ones told us:
that Moon and stars hold us
with unbreakable strings—

so no matter how much
my confused reasoning whines
and fights, I must obey
those higher lights as they
guide me to my rightful place.

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
MYTH STEPS: the collection

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