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author’s note:

When a man hears angels singing
he hears angels singing.
           — Mary Oliver


When the songbird told him
you’re no match for me
the bullfrog countered:

by who’s measure?—

yes, many have opened
their windows to your song

but the few who’ve opened to mine
recognize a beauty less obvious
so aren’t they more refined?

Only a wise heart can find
the aria hidden within
my harsh slimy croaking.

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
myth steps: poetry ebook


birds nest ear 366w - January 4, 2014s

author’s note:

In olden times, people believed the souls of humans took up habitation in birds, upon death.

I’d prefer the soul of bird to take up habitation in me, while I’m still alive.


Such generosity from that bird:

offering me its golden-throated warbling
for the purpose of healing my ears
—my heart

then building a nest
to demonstrate
how beautiful vessels
though delicately suspended
can defy the storm.

I respond to its fretful notes:

the bird sings of a life precarious.

I respond to its strong tones—

the bird tells us:
I will feel the pain of this fear
and create a song of love.

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
listening to silence: the book

treble in mind - December 10, 2014s

author’s note:

A companion poem to the last one posted.


As a bird I was born
with this ambition:

to sing a song of the folk
that would echo every song
of every age and place—

a song to endure
through the many generations
until its beat became
part of our heartbeat.

So I began to sing
in search of that song

and though my tune
came out puny
I kept on:

I believing my sincerity
could amplify the ditty
into a symphony booming
throughout the mountains…

a delusion, yes
but one that kept me singing

though I became irritated
at my lack—
though my irritation
became an agitation
and then a torment,
a torture—

I kept on

as I began to hear
how such frustration
actually helped to strengthen
my sound…

So I still have hope
that those mountain peaks
may eventually echo back
a sky choir.

In the meantime
even as I’m aggravated
a deep satisfaction elevates me
as I continue to discover
the voice of my song…

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
listening to silence: the book

frog throat - October 22, 2014s

author’s note:

“I have sounded the very bass-line of humility.”
       — Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part I


Now I know why
the bullfrog immerses itself
in the cold dark water beneath the willow
all through the night:

baptisms are not done in a moment—
long solitary work is required
to raise the soul from the depths.

Such resurrections
resurrect deep feelings—

the frog feels compelled to sing

but has not yet reached
the high sweet notes…

its relentless coarse croaking
tells us of the drive within all frogs
to heal and heal and heal
and heal the wound…

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
dream steps: the blog

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