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author’s note:

It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.
           — Bob Dylan


I am building an ark

my work guided
by a voice transcendent

asking me to believe
what I can’t yet see

but I blindly obey because
as carpenters, we learn
disasters can happen when
we refuse to listen…

doubt often lowers me down

but I lift myself
with this perspective:

maybe I am
making a grand mistake…

but if so
it’s wonderfully grand.

© 2016, Michael R. Patton
Survival: a poetry book


sailboat tree - July 23, 2014s

author’s note:

I was once told that the lost continent of Atlantis could be found in Missouri.  Seriously.

I’ve been to Missouri.  It ain’t there.


As I awoke Sunday
I again felt the fading
of a subtle strength—
the warmth and wisdom
of a greater life

back into my depths…

As before, dissatisfaction
flooded the void left in the wake—
a deeper hunger

stole all taste from my regular food.

But this time I’m not deflated—
mad desire has finally overwhelmed me
and filled my empty sail:

my ears begin to buzz
with that hollow surf roar
that comes when
trivial thought falls away
as I focus on a worthier goal—

a mission.

But my navigational tools
were designed for a life
I must abandon as
I set out on this voyage:

now, I’m forced to trust
what the wise ones told us:
that Moon and stars hold us
with unbreakable strings—

so no matter how much
my confused reasoning whines
and fights, I must obey
those higher lights as they
guide me to my rightful place.

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
MYTH STEPS: the collection

inner mongolia - May 25, 2014s

author’s note:

As stated in the poem, “I’ve learned not to resist”…

What I didn’t say is: I learned the hard way.


Sometimes, I can detect a voice

so deep within…almost alien

yet somewhat comforting
because it lies beyond
my screeches and wails:

a voice without language
a voice without sound—

what often tells me yes
when I hope for no
and no when I’m wishing for
a definite yes.

But I’ve learned not to resist.

What I haven’t learned yet
is the purpose behind
its instructions…

I can only tell you
what I trust to be true:

I trust it knows of “home”—

that it knows what needs to unfold
through work and time—that it knows
where I need to go to get to
where I need to be—

that it knows what’s required
to answer a desire—a basic desire

but not one driven by survival fear.

Such a concept feels overwhelming

…almost unbelievable…frightening.

And yet…I can’t stop listening.

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
OPEN ALL NIGHT: poems of our dream life

hand question - January 1, 2014s

author’s note:

The path is under your feet at
All times.
     —  Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Cloud Hands Edition

Best wishes for 2014.


Before I knew
about the hands
I did not need
this much trust:

not this much—not until
I began to think
one day

because one thought
led to another
and another


I started to wonder
if perhaps I could be
walking on cloud.

I knew that was not
supposed to be possible
but whatever lay
beneath my feet
did not feel so solid
and if you’ve never seen
what’s under your toes
how would you know?

I took a deep courageous breath
then looked down

and found all sorts of hands
providing a platform for my feet—

their palms uplifted, the fingers interlinked—
a solid cushion, a multi-hued mosaic:

a calm sea of hands as far as the eye could see—!

Since the hands were everywhere
I could walk anywhere
and still feel secure.

But what if I took a step—
   the wrong step—
and the hand
under my heel
gave way—?—

then where would I be?

Though these hands
had supported me in the past
how could I know
what they might do
in the future?

Now I wished
I’d never looked down,
never seen a single hand.
Now, each step felt treacherous—
I became afraid
to move
even one toe.

I stopped…dead still.

But then
the next logical thought
fell like a domino:
what if the hands now holding my feet
began to sink—?—

what if all the hands
began to sink
and kept on sinking—?—

then where would I be?

I didn’t know, I only knew
such sinkage would surely
happen to me.

So, I closed my eyes
and waited for the worst.

But though I waited
and I waited,
I went no lower…

nor, for that matter
did I rise
any higher

not a bit higher.

I couldn’t just stand there all day, could I?

Despite my fear,
I wanted to go on—
to take a step in any direction:
any direction
would be better
than being stuck
where I was.

Wherever I stepped,
wherever I went,
would just have to be
the place I needed to be.

So…I began to walk again

and the longer I have walked
the more I’ve felt the warmth
radiating up from each palm—

the more I’ve felt the intelligence
of the steady fingers and thumbs
beneath my soles.

Even so, my foolish head
is still learning to trust
the message of assurance
coming from my wise feet.

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
if you read only 500 books this year, this should be one of them

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