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author’s note:

Actually, I think this is a good poem for the beginning of Spring.


As I watch the shattered jet
smolder in a field…

I notice the wreckage resembles a cross

and begin to wonder if
I’m only using this crash
to mourn my own private losses—

I had to kill
so many childish kings
with their commands and castle dreams
so that my kingly child might live:

this slow painful sacrifice
is still in progress—

no, I haven’t quite arrived
at that new life.

But though I’ve reason to mourn
I’m ashamed to have descended
into self-pity
while witnessing a tragedy


this release of grief
opens a well of feeling

and so, I suddenly swell
with true empathy for the many
who’ll be deep-struck
by the shock of this loss

then realize:
we’re together in grief

and also
together in hope:

as a woman wearing a hood
lifts a baby from the ashes
an artesian tear rises in my eye:

though I know a shadow
will haunt that child
from this time forward…

when I see
that small tear-streaked face
I again believe
in the new life
that follows in the wake
of all our sacrifice.

© 2017, Michael R. Patton
Butterfly Soul: poems of death and grief and joy


water drops - December 30, 2015s

author’s note:

Best wishes for 2016.


Lao Tzu said
the Ancient Sages
were as evanescent
as icicles


according to my dictionary
that which is “evanescent” is like a vapor—
here and gone in just a short time:

for example…
in the cold night
my evanescent breath
twirls upwards in a wisp
to vanish like a ghost
—like a dream lost—

like the vapor from an icicle—

an icicle slowly dwindling in the Sun
drop…by drop…by drop…by drop

a blessed sacrifice: a gift—
though the Sages have faded into the darkness
their water still lives in our well.

But are we not all icicles
large or small?—

as this life of mine melts
maybe I can make peace with the loss
by telling myself
what I believe to be
a good belief:

long after I’m gone
what I have given (whatever that is)
will still be a part of whatever we are…

I am as you are:
evanescent…yet continuous.

© 2015, Michael R. Patton

myth steps: the blog

coffee zombie - February 19, 2014s

author’s note:

I’m not too aware of what’s in our current crop of zombie TV shows and movies…

But apparently, the zombie is still “the other guy” and not ourselves.


Though I’ve spent
so much time mining
down in this cave
I regret to say
I can’t yet
provide a guidebook

but if a few of you
now feel the need
to descend into this basement
—this dungeon—
I can give some encouragement:

though others may worry about you,
don’t worry yourself—

that blank stare comes from
the eyes having turned inward

and that blank in your mouth happens
when the zombie listens deeper down.

Yes, your walk may feel robotic
but even when sequestered thus
the need for decorum may require us
to go through our usual motions…

This passageway
has existed for ages

but today
we have no horrific rituals
to take us into and through
such catacombs
so we must perform the sacrifice

I’m my own
I am the midwife
at my own birth.

Don’t worry, undertakers:
this grave has just enough space
to keep us alive
as we finally put to rest
what must die;

don’t worry, midwives:
after we’ve grown enough
the lack of room in this womb
will force us to break out—

to sprout.

Don’t worry, zombies:
this tomb supplies good nourishment
so we will climb from our crypt
—our crib—
feeling refreshed, feeling strong

and then, darkly wholesome.

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
Glorious Tedious Transformation promo

author’s note:

This seemed a good poem for our Thanksgiving holiday.


When the man asked the fish
and the deer and the bird
to lay down their lives
so he could live
they said:

“We are only animals, so
 we must lay down our lives!”

Then because he was a man
he asked the tree, the wheat—
he asked the stream

and they laid down their lives
to give him a roof, a crop,
and a dam.

Because the man was a man
he believed he deserved
this blessing of the Earth:
because the man was a man
he did not yet understand

that humans must raise the world again
whenever the world lays down its life—
  humans must bless this Earth
  in order to earn its blessing

and because he did not
support his life support
eventually, the man
had to lay down—
he lay down on his back

but fortunately
even a wounded Earth
can heal a dying man…
thus, after many painful nights
the man rose again

and since a human, in rising
sees the same world differently
the human man could see
what he had not seen previously:

“Because I’m so small and weak
 I must lift and lift again
 all that has laid down
 its strong life for my sake!”

Fortunately, even a wounded man
can heal what he has wounded…

even a wounded human being
can remember how this strong lifting
will earn for him—will earn for her
the great gift of this Earth’s blessing.

© 2012, Michael R. Patton
searching for the new mythology

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