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author’s note:

“The worms crawl in…the worms crawl out.”
               — from The Hearse Song
 

BETWEEN A LION & A WORM

I’ve seen so much shape-shifting:

I’ve seen lions
accept the lie told to them
and crawl under stones
to survive as worms.

But fortunately
a big cat can benefit
from living subterranean

if as a worm
it feeds upon
the rich life to be found
within the black loam.

But as that worm-cat expands
its safe space will become suffocating…

for our lion to rise
we must die the good death—
we must shift once again.

Afterwards
when I look back
on my life as a worm
a sigh of melancholy
may slip from my lips…

but no—
I’ll reject all regrets

because by then
I’ll finally fully accept
I had to lose
in order to grow.
 

© 2017, Michael R. Patton
myth steps: a blog

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author’s note:

This poem seems appropriate for our times.
 

THE PEBBLE

As stallions of bruised-black clouds
rushed toward my shore from the ocean horizon…

I thanked my stars I’d found
that boulder on the beach—
a cleft on its leeward side
opened to a secret chamber:
a womb for me—a sacred space
where I could sit in safety…
in peaceful solitude

and indeed
as I hunkered down inside
I felt secure
even as the tide rose
even as the wind rose
even as pellets of rain
shot down on the rock roof
I felt secure.

But that ocean seemed determined
to wreck my calm:
though I tried to reassure myself
I could not ignore the force
of its repetitive threats—
on the count of three
a wave would explode
against the rock-side:
those booming blasts
soon broke into
my body, my mind, my heart.

So, in desperation
I dove down into my dark depths

praying I might find
a solid stone foundation

but no—
I could only locate a little pebble.

But since I had nothing else
to hold, I held it
with the all fierceness
of my spirit.

I’d stopped struggling
to kill my fear—
now, I just hoped to endure:

sometimes, we must go so low
for our higher education—
consider the end:

when I’d become nothing more
than that tiny stone
a big blow shattered the boulder
into shards

and I found myself standing
on sunny beach
as modest waves retreated.

Stunned I was, but closer to peace—
having gained this foundational wisdom:

rock walls can not protect us
from the destruction of storms…

only our own little stones.
 

© 2017, Michael R. Patton
dream steps blog

author’s note:

And now for something a bit shorter…
 

WEAVE IN PEACE

Moonlight whitens a spider dangling
down on an unseen string—
down from a limb of shadow leaves.

This suspension holds me in suspense

yet the spider seems quite at ease:

the spider knows its strength

thus, it weaves in peace…

on the other hand, humans
are still learning

so we doubt as we dangle…

maybe someday
we’ll realize the truth
of our strength

and thereafter
weave in peace.
 

© 2017, Michael R. Patton
myth steps blog

author’s note:

If laughter is the best medicine, maybe it’s good for me to joke about my pain.
 

OUCH!

When slogging through
a dark morass of agony
some of us will only say
“ouch”…

by that I mean:
we’ll answer your sincere concern
with a little joke—
understating our pain
in the manner of some cartoon character
toasted to a crisp by a bomb.

Maybe I’m not being honest about
the state of my heart
but to share my burden
would only burden me more
because then I’d worry
you’d worry
much too much
about the state of my soul.

Please, believe me:
I can endure what I must
if I couldn’t I wouldn’t
be able to limit my cry
to a silly-sad
mouse-like
“ouch”.
 


© 2017, Michael R. Patton
Common Courage: a poetry book

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