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author’s note:

This poem, written on Christmas Eve 2007, has become my Christmas tradition…

But traditions change over time.  This year, I’ve added a subtitle.

 

CHRISTMAS BAT
(or: The Birth Pains of Winter)

In this season, when we recognize
the birth of bright new life
in the darkest dark…

I wanted to give you all
an appropriate poem
of sweet Christmas light

but my heart stubbornly refused
to sing of our ideal Yuletide—

instead, this bat poem
demanded to be born:

   Cold cave and dung—
   there I hung
   wet with stalactite drops

   until a vampire bat perceived
   how tedious torturous time
   had finally ripened me—

   its bite woke me up—
   those painful fangs burst me free!—

   so that I might soar
   and sow my seed.

Some poems won’t let you go
until you open their cage
so after I wrote that batty rhyme
I felt quite relieved

until the child within me said,
“Okay—
 now you can warm me
 with a real Christmas story!”

I tried (but in vain)
to placate
that hungry innocent
with this insight:

  doesn’t that flighty verse
  actually speak of Christmas?—

  of new life born
  from the darkest night?

 

© 2016, Michael R. Patton
Searching for My Best Beliefs: a poetry book

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miracle birth 2b red - September 5, 2016s

author’s note:

This poem seems appropriate, on the day following the canonization of Mother Teresa.
 

THE MIRACLE BIRTH MAKES SENSE

I believe I was guided
to this dead black tree
by a god I hardly know
though it lives within me

but even if you don’t believe
in either a god within
or without
I think we can still agree
on this part of the story:

for a good while
I’d walked and fought this desert
and felt proud
of the will to survive
I’d found inside

until the mocking sun
and the dull malicious dust
and the spiteful rock
finally broke me down
finally won
the obedience of my knees

and I lowered down
—back down—
to the truth of humility:

tired, I grieved
for my poor self
until I finally tired
of my grief…

only then
in desolate silence
did I discover how fertile
a barren land could be.

My fingertips told me:

if you’ll let yourself
really feel the prickly pear
you will know
how each bite of each spike
gives life to our life—
all these sensations
inform the spirit:
in secret, we learn, we grow.

Even if you believe
we only live a life of biology
you can still experience
this experience:

after regaining my feeling
I sensed the stir of new life
down in my rich black earth—

a pod rattling
with myriad seeds–

a jovial thunder telling me:
though you’re about to burst
you must move
in order for the birth
to finally be.

Again
I must obey—uplifted
I stand again.

The saints told us:
miracles can occur in the desert…

but you need not believe
in miracles
to accept this birth:

think about it—
doesn’t the process
make perfect sense?
 


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

groundhog rising - January 30, 2013s

author’s note:

Happy Groundhog Day.
 

LETTER TO THE ACME CALENDAR CORPORATION

Though your calendars
have served me well in the past…

I now feel the need
to observe more than
the basic business holidays—

for instance:
I wish to celebrate Groundhog Day:

I want to honor
the life that lives beneath
Winter’s earth
and rises to return
to us each Summer.

Moreover, I wish to know
all phases of the Moon
and recognize the best days
to fish—

I need to make appointments
with that Moon
and its watery subjects.

Thus, I’d like to suggest
you hire Spring’s child
and Autumn’s old woman
to design next year’s
key date calendar…

© 2013, Michael R. Patton
searching for the new mythology

author’s note:

This poem seems appropriate for our time of harvest and thanksgiving.
 

NEW FIELD

A new field
clear–
or empty–
all the way to the horizon.

New green grass
and grass
newly brown.

© 2009, Michael R. Patton
earnest audio
new steps

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