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author’s note:

Just for the record: I love our scientists.


Science still can’t tell us
why we need to sigh

but we already know
when you lack adequate language
you breathe a deep sigh
and in that way
give pure voice
to the soul
and thus
relieve the heart.

My own four chambers
might have burst
long ago
if not for all those
large and small exhalations.

if I hadn’t sighed at the sight
of that stark violet mountain
my heart might have clunked
and quit—

might have stopped
had I not
sighed while watching
that snail crawl over
the pebble stones…

might have collapsed
awhile back
if not for those quiet occasions
when I find myself sighing
for a reason unknown:

at such times
if I listen down deep
I can feel
that strange sadness
and with it
the obscure wish.


sighs not only service
human hearts
but also those of animals—

I’ve heard a dog sigh
as well as a kitten.

Is it just
a mechanical response?—
or can a cat experience life
to the depths of a soul?

Maybe so
because one night
during a catastrophic dinner
I became a fraidy cat—
and chose flight over fight
but afterwards, in my sigh of relief
I heard the soul of my heart.

But whatever the reality may be
I believe it’s best if we believe
canines and felines
occasionally, soulfully sigh—

along with everything else
in this world:
a pigeon, a sturgeon—
even a tree—even
a stone—
they all hold the deep heavy wisdom
expressed by the sigh:

this whole damn planet sighs
this whole damn Universe—!

when I dive down
into the bottomless well
of my sigh
I can hear
that Universal sigh—
I can hear that sigh in mine

and then
despite the great distances
I feel and know
we are one in the sorrow…

we are one in the secret joy.

© 2017, Michael R. Patton
myth steps blog



author’s note:

In memory of Beatriz Prentice—who often said: “it’s an outer manifestation of an inner reality”.


Recently, I’ve noticed
people preferring plaid socks
over ones with stripes

I view this trend
not as a mere fad
but as a message
from the human psyche:

I believe
that plaid speaks
of work we’re doing within—

nothing less
than the process
of combining
our left and right
our up and down
so we can become
what we truly are:

individuals of four unified sides.

I believe
as the plaid person
finds her true design
she will rise
and thus realize
our grand plaid pattern—
she’ll see where she fits
in the world network
of four-sided folk.

Maybe you scoff
at these beliefs
but consider how
this perspective benefits me:

now, whenever I see
someone choosing
a plaid pair of socks
my hope lifts

and this small life
gains height
as I become
even more determined
to get my four sides

© 2016, Michael R. Patton
Myth Steps: a poetry book


author’s note:

As a child, I learned that the forest has eyes.

Fortunately, I’ve never forgotten.


While walking in solitude
I’ve sometimes sensed
elements of the landscape
marking my steps:
a wild boulder, perhaps

or a sweet oblong cloud
slowing its pace
to look.

I believe such things
understand us well
because they once
lived as humans
in order to grow the soul

so when I’m among them
they see and know me
in my low weak glory:

that’s the only healing I ask.
I’ll provide the rest.

Maybe I should
what remains of my pride
and seek human help

but no one but me
can find my strength—
  yes, I want to confess
  but only after
  I’ve lifted myself
  up a bit.

So I will go to
the rivers and mountains—

as long as I respect
their silent mystery
they’ll watch over me
as I find and mend
what I’ve
so wantonly wounded.

© 2016, Michael R. Patton
myth steps: a blog

pregnant woman dazzled - February 18, 2015s

author’s note:

No, I’m not expecting any new arrivals.

I’m just trying to look on the bright side of population growth.


Almost cruel
to push a child into
this whirling world
of cloud and conflict

but maybe more cruel
not to allow a soul
such a grand opportunity
to grow some more

and cruel to us and it
not to give that spirit
the chance to bring us
just a little more light

as we struggle to find our way
through the storm cloud of conflict.

© 2015, Michael R. Patton
common courage: the book

find COMMON COURAGE on amazon

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