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author’s note:

“I was asleep but my heart stayed awake.”
    — from Song of Songs (trans. Ariel & Chana Bloch)


In the dream…

a waterdrop
from a towering redwood tree
created the single ring of a ripple
in the center
of a pond’s black mirror:

the ripple spread—
into a silver wave rising—
gaining momentum

until it met
those rocks along the shore:

a crash, but not destruction
just a loud bounce:

the ripple quickly
put its ring back together
then began the return—
a return to center—

diminishing down
to a wee circle
then down
to a single still point…

a point that sat in ideal peace

only for a moment, I’ll admit
but that moment was enough

for me to renew
before I went forth once more
to sound myself
against those rocks.

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
listening to silence: poetry ebook


author’s note:

Heart attacks often occur in the morning hours during the last phase of REM (dream) sleep.


The truth must actually be important:

otherwise why would my dreams
ruin a soft nourishing sleep
by revealing the true chaos
of my waking life?—

ruin, by revealing
my relentless distress

then add to that distress
by revealing
I’m not yet over the sorrow
I thought I’d put to rest
years ago

and then at the end of night
stun me one more time
by revealing the love
behind my dislike
and the anger raging under
what I thought
was calm acceptance.

No wonder our hearts often burst
while we’re asleep…

but maybe my dreams will be
a little easier on me
if I can wake myself
to more of the truth
amid the chaos of these days.

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
dream steps blog

author’s note:

Our dreams remind us how extraordinary our ordinary lives are.


According to one theory…

as we ease into sleep
our minds begin to spiral
and expand
like a hurricane
like a galaxy:

though we think we rest
we actually spread and accelerate
through an interstellar space—

each night we extend
just a little bit more
than before—
we grow even as we snore.

But when the alarm sounds
we contract—
in a mere instant
we slam back together again!

I’m not sure of that theory
but I do know:
in a blink I’m awake
and in the rush of morning thought
I quickly forget
my nighttime universe…

but later, while waiting in traffic
I may sense a soft buzz of stardust within
then dimly recall a meteor or a planet.

What I lost probably wasn’t that important
I’ll tell myself

but in truth, at such times
I feel like a kid
who’s just missed the circus
and must return to class.

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
myth steps blog


author’s note:

I believe we all talk in our sleep.


Your spirit speaks to me, sometimes

after I’ve lowered my night blind.

Your spirit told me
this secret:
how you are pulled
when necessary
by invisible strings—

your spirit told me: you don’t know
but you’ve agreed to every pull—
even when the jerk
feels like a lightening bolt
you said “yes” to the plan
in advance.

But your spirit also told me
sometimes you realize
what must be done
and actually pull
the string yourself
because you know
the bolt could burst you open.

Yet you never proclaim:
“I am courageous!”

Your spirit told me
that, with a little more perspective
I’d see your electrified flopping
as a dance:

an epic ballet portraying
our battle to answer life’s shocking demands—

the erratic fluttering of your arms and hands
in truth, a modern reenactment
of the heroine’s triumphant emergence—

doesn’t the butterfly struggle
with its crimped wings, in just the same way
after bursting from the cocoon—?—

your spirit told me
your stumbling footsteps
are part of a balancing act
performed by a puppet clown
navigating its way up and down
the bars of a symphony score:

the bars not a prison—merely restraint:
the restraint of a physical body
moving through time and space:

the restraint of our learning.

Your spirit told me:
how in you, I can see
my own dance class.

Now finally, this morning
I told myself I must tell you
everything I’ve been told
in hopes you might come to appreciate
your personal style of elegance.

Don’t doubt me—I bear witness:
your night messages have indeed given me
a different perspective
on your tremulous pirouettes

and a different view of this mountain too

though I’m still intimidated
by its dragon grandeur—

though I still tremble, stumble, flutter
with every single step

now I know
my heart would never desire
something softer

not for my sake
nor for yours.

© 2013, Michael R. Patton
new steps

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