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heaven beyond - February 26, 2016s

author’s note:

Butterfly!  These words
from my brush
are not flowers…
only their shadows.
      –– Soseki (trans. Beilenson/Behn)


I’m told
any heaven worthy of the name
would be beyond description

maybe so, but I doubt
I could remain quiet

because in those rare moments
when light floods my being
I’m overwhelmed by the desire
to express a feeling so heavenly

and though I know I can never find
the perfect words
I’m driven to keep searching—
even long afterwards.

Yes, my efforts
always end in frustration

sometimes, amid the silence
that follows in the wake of my words…

I arrive back
at the place I seek

for a moment at least:

that heaven.

© 2016, Michael R. Patton
listening to silence: poems of meditation


stop green reduc - September 17, 2014s

author’s note:

Reality—what a concept!
       — Robin Williams


We already have so many gods
that provide all sorts of services

but maybe we need one more
for the purpose of helping us
regain our sanity occasionally.

I believe we can begin
to create this god of sanity
by silencing
our well-reasoned attempts
to explain what our gods want
to explain what they think—
why they do what they do.

This respite could open us
to the true silence within—
could open us

to the secret silence
behind everything:

the invisible shadow

both a part of
      and apart from
every single crazy thing.

Any mystery so deeply felt must be real

and so, this reality must be quite sane:

a sanity we can return to
whenever we bow to
our god of silence.


© 2014, Michael R. Patton
myth steps

cleaning up old business - September 7, 2014s

author’s note:

Please excuse the “primitive” recording of this poem (at the bottom of the post)…

I try to make up in sincerity what I lack in technology.



I have experienced
two types of emptiness—

blank exhaustion
with all its dead air

and the blankness of clarity
with its wide-open freshness—

so different the pair
and yet the first
can sometimes lead
to the second:

after fighting with myself
to release an old argument
held in the fist of a grip
I’ll surrender in exhaustion—

so blank…so mute…so empty.

But at such times
though I feel so weak
the smoke may die
and in the break, I will see
the brilliant blue sky of peace

before the ground fog gathers again.

These brief respites
both lift me with hope
and heighten my frustration:

as a result, afterwards
I’m even more motivated
to work my way out—

to keep on battling
to give up
that which I so stubbornly
work to protect.


© 2014, Michael R. Patton
myth steps

day raccoon - September 3, 2014s

author’s note:

Not based on any particular experience…

…based on so many similar experiences.


At the end of another party–alone

and blank
under a bare light bulb.

As I drum my fingers on
this hard kitchen table
I wonder if I might’ve died
at some time unknown to me
while I talked in my sleep…

then an icicle crashes outside

and with that relief and release
I realize our revolution never ceases.

In the silence that follows
I can hear the deep hill cave
calling to me…I must rise.

But though I know I can find
soft soothing darkness
beneath my eyelids
I wish to stay at this table
for just few more tickings:

because I’m now aware
of how I am as full
and as empty
as this glass of air—
I no longer hunger
for the Spring sun.

In this unexpected expansion
of light—this sudden freedom—
I lift with a new breath
    of peace

    then on the exhale
I lose that open moment in the breeze.

But though I know I’ve arrived
at the end of another ending
I lag a short while longer
so that I may enjoy
what lingers of the feeling—
the afterglow, then its diffusion…

abruptly shut down
as the clock strikes the hour.

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
searching for the new mythology

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