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author’s note:

Happy Groundhog Day to all the groundhogs out there.
 

AFTER I SAW MY GROUNDHOG SHADOW

If gray clouds cover the sky
on Groundhog Day
the groundhog won’t see his shadow
and so, feel safe
to remain above ground—
to feed, to frolic

just as I did
in my dim Spring.

On the other hand
if the sun cuts through the clouds
then his shadow will be revealed
and our furry friend
will retreat to his dark den—

afraid, as I once was
of that creature unknown.

But in time, he’ll return
just as I did:

I guess we can’t forget
the glory to be found in sunlight—
we want to see—
even if
what we witness frightens us
or pains our eyes.

Maybe…or maybe
we begin to worry—
wondering if

that shadowy something
has followed us back inside
and still lurks—
hidden in the dark.

So we then decide:
hard open light is actually safer
than the shelter of soft darkness.
 

© 2019, Michael R. Patton
myth steps blog

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author’s note:

Around every Fourth of July, I revisit this poem.

Full disclosure: I’m not always able to live up to these words.
 

DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

I’ll be damn if I’ll be terrorized
by anyone

including me—

I have looked into the mirror
and seen how mean I’ve been
to myself.

If I can face that monster
why should I cower
before those who lack
the courage to look
into their own reflections?

When they bombard me
my legs may tremble
but I won’t jump—
no, I’ll pirouette in triumph:
my dance will be my revenge!

Though they curse me to hell
I won’t curse them—
after all
I know the wounds
of their hellacious suffering.

On the other hand
I can’t sincerely bless them to heaven:

I haven’t yet healed myself
to that degree of empathy.

However
I have stopped
and stopped
and stopped
my monster from mirroring
their vitriolic violence

and maybe that’s blessing enough.
 

© 2017, Michael R. Patton
my war for peace: a poetry book

author’s note:

I’d like to thank those who have been tolerant of my menagerie…
 

A HOUSE OF TOLERANCE

Last night, while dreaming of
my solitary house
I opened a broom closet
and a bundled body fell out…

one more mystery character to unwrap—
another

in a wide cast
that includes both commanders
and slaves,
mountebanks as well as monks—
a riotous mix.

So please excuse me if I hesitate
to invite you in—
though I may seem quite quiet
I’m actually a carousel
of commotion.

Yes, at first, you might enjoy
the entertainment
but in time, a circus
can become very overbearing—

I know because I live with me.

A struggle
but with its benefits:
by learning to be
more tolerant of myself
I’ve become
more tolerant of others.

Maybe you want to enter
this solitary house
because you’re also trying to learn
tolerance…

well, in that case, okay.

Anyway
I think I’m tolerant enough now
to handle our inevitable
fits of exasperation.
 

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
what I learned while alone: poetry ebook

dear reader:

Again: written to no one in particular.

Perhaps a precognition.  I hope.
 

OBSERVATION OF A MOTH

All day as she taps
on her keyboard she may seem
so ordinary to so many

but I’ve watched her brush her hair
in the soft lamplight
of a bedroom of shadows

as a moth flutters against the bulb…
 

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
myth steps blog

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