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author’s note:

“We are all astronauts on a little spaceship called Earth.”
                 — R. Buckminster Fuller
 

CONFESSIONS OF A SPACE MAN

I sat down on a flat stone—
hoping to find some sense
of stability

but as I gazed across the desert
I slowly began to feel
what I’d been told:
though the earth beneath our feet
seems solid enough
we’re actually walking on a thin crust—

a skin constantly shifting
as if something mysterious
seethes underneath—
something that might
at any moment
erupt!

How could I ever feel secure
on a planet continually in flux?

I then decided to look skyward
into the timeless void—
hoping if I lost myself
I might also lose my anxiety…

but when I saw
the myriad stars
cartwheeling
through darkness without end
I felt what I’d been told:
how this planet, this spaceship
holds us captive on a wild spin
through a Universe unknown—

we’re not held fast
by Atlas
or any other god.

Finally, in desperation
I went within—
hoping to find an anchor stone
of deep wisdom

but no—
without outside distraction
I discovered how nervous
I actually was:
rocked and racked by an inner ocean—
my rickety boat swooning—swelling
with tension—ready to explode

but then
through the fierce storm
I heard the voice
of that buried stone:

let go it said—let go

and though I could not believe
I saw no other choice, no other hope.

So I opened my toes
my fingers
my arms
my stomach
my groin…

and to my surprise
when I opened my eyes
I found myself
surfing over earthen clouds—
I now rode the stone
through the storm
balanced I was (or nearly so).

These days, I still feel
a little queasy—but
if I can remember to remind myself
to just let go
(without surrendering completely)
I usually manage to hold steady.

Maybe someday
—when I locate that lost grain
   of confidence—
I will truly soar…

If I’ve bored you
with this story before
realize this:
you’ve again helped
a fellow human being
because

by allowing me
to confess my uncertainty
I am released—
maybe only a little, but still:
thus comforted, I balance better.

But perhaps I’ve helped you too—

if you often feel weak
in the solar plexus
at least now you know:
you are not alone.
 


© 2017, Michael R. Patton
Searching for My Best Beliefs: a poetry book

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author’s note:

Just for the record: I love our scientists.
 

UNIVERSAL SIGH

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.

Yes
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.

(…)

However
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—!

Sometimes
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

night-mountain-light-db-db-february-20-2017sc

author’s note:

Easy to forget that we’re in outer space.
 

HEADLIGHT ON THE HILLTOP

Yeah—
what I saw was probably
just a car headlight
switching from low to bright
then from bright to low
up there on the hillside.

Nonetheless
the sight thrilled my heart
before I could stop to think

and when
the light blinked off
a few moments later
(or maybe it was an hour)
my eyes began to search
the heavens in hope

even as I told myself:
you’ll find nothing above
except a litter of stars

and indeed
though I did strain
that’s all I could see:
distant balls of gas

but so many…
more than I could possibly take in—

once again
I felt our universe to be
something so much greater
than my small mind
can comprehend…

once again
I felt microscopic
in the mystery—

wonderfully insignificant.

Yes, I told myself
probably just a headlight
beaming from low to bright
then from bright to low
over and over again

but even so…

a blessed event.
 


© 2017, Michael R. Patton
Searching for My Best Beliefs: a book

going going gone - January 5, 2014s

author’s note:

Perhaps our dreams are there, in part, to remind us how extraordinary our ordinary lives are.
 
 
GALAXY HURRICANE SLEEP

According to one theory…

as we fall asleep
our minds begin to spiral
like a galaxy—
like a hurricane.

So though we think we rest
we actually expand through Space
at ever greater velocities:

each night, we push ourselves
nearly to the breaking point—
stretching just a little bit more
than before—

each night, just a wee bit more

then as morning light breaks
we contract in a mere instant—
we slam back together again…

According to this one theory.

Maybe so.  All I know is:
in a blink I’m awake and back
in my wooden shoes

and though I can sense
the transport of some momentous event
the memory has swirled far away

leaving me with maybe a few snapshots
or sometimes only some sprinkles of dust.

Well, probably wasn’t that important,
I tell myself…

though I feel like a kid
who’s just missed the circus
and must return to class.

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
COMMON COURAGE

find COMMON COURAGE on amazon

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