You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘understanding’ tag.

author’s note:

I keep learning from old dreams.


Years ago in a dream
I saw the truth of my room:

the walls and floor, all dull gray—
even the light motes drifting
down from the ceiling:
dense gray.

Since that vision, I’ve worked
to escape my gray place
and maybe I have—because
though I still see
scary things in my dreams
I witness nothing so monotone.

But ever so often
in my waking hours
I revisit the room
because as a human being
I want to understand

and if I can raise myself
when I return
I’ll again realize
the beauty and benefit
of that hermitage:

though gray, the sun rays
pour down from a skylight

and those high walls
create a great space—
an austere cathedral.

Oppressive, yes, but
power held in check
can build in strength
as our desire to break out
—to bloom—
grows in intensity.

I’ve still much to learn
but at least now I know why
I needed that gray room.

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
myth steps blog



author’s note:

While rewriting this poem, I realized I’d written yet another Sisyphus tale.


Legend tells us
each night the ghost lady
ascends this hotel stairway

and with every step, she struggles
to understand
the reason for her loss

so when she finally reaches
the top landing
the lady feels such relief—
a moment of peace…

but then she gazes down
and vertigo again overwhelms her—
once again she loses balance
once again she tumbles down—
all the way back down
to the bottom floor

to die, once more.

I mention
the ghost lady’s story
because it mirrors my own:

like her, I’ve worked
to release my pain
and though I’ve often elevated
my perspective…

I can’t maintain—

I’ve slipped and fallen
again and again and again

that moment of vision
before the fall
—that brief reprieve
motivates me
to pick myself back up

and if I need an extra lift
I tell myself:
yes, you continue to trip
but your legs grow stronger
with every step

and if I need
an even bigger lift…
I imagine the day
when I am able
to look down
from the top of the stairway
and remain stable
in my balance—
solid on my feet
because I’ve finally accepted
all of what I see.

Yes, today
I feel quite weak
yet I still believe—

consider this:
no one at the hotel
has witnessed
the ghost lady lately—

apparently, she’s moved on

and if she can, so can I
…so can we.

© 2016, Michael R. Patton
My War for Peace: a book


author’s note:

During this year’s World Series, catcher David Ross offered this excellent advice to a nervous teammate:

“Just continue to breathe.”


After years
of being pushed and pulled
into various precarious situations
by some unknown unseen force
I’d nearly lost hope…

in an effort to save myself
I began to reconsider
the results:

maybe I kept
falling into the mud
in the process of cleaning off
all that slop
I remove so much other
accumulated dirt and dust
—every bath: an education.

maybe I kept letting
that gale wind catch me
because I need to learn
how to bend—

I now see
that unseen force
as an unknown aspect within
that only wants the best for me.

I’m not saying I’m free
of confusion
however, this truth seems obvious:
we’re trying—trying
to educate ourselves…

but to be honest
after so many
harrowing lessons
I’ve become a bit skittish—

though I try to reason with it
my fear keeps screaming at me—
and like the shadow of child
it won’t be left behind

so now I’m teaching myself
how to walk with this dread…
this doubt…
this nervousness…

every step
another wonderful test.

© 2016, Michael R. Patton
picturing metaphor blog


author’s note:

Dedicated to all of you.


As a child I felt the need
to keep close watch

which required a safe distance

but this neurosis led
to a healthy obsession:

as I watched I sensed a mystery
and I asked myself: who are we?

In search of an answer
I have studied you well
but my primary subject
has been my own self—
after all, I do have full access

and in the process
of accessing
I’ve grown closer to myself—
close enough to see
the you inside me

and so, I’ve also
grown closer to you—
close enough to see
myself in yourself.

I love this research
I occasionally feel the need
to step back from the both of us

and when I do, I use
what I’ve learned
to view this human life
in broader perspective.

So perhaps if I keep growing closer
to the both of us
I can, in time
realize a grand dream:

to suddenly see
all the pieces I’ve gathered
join together
in one fantastic panorama
of understanding.

When that vision comes
I believe (I hope)
the distance between us
will be seen
as nothing.

© 2016, Michael R. Patton
Listening to Silence: a book

find COMMON COURAGE on amazon

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 618 other followers