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author’s note:

An appropriate poem for Valentine’s Day, I think.


Every morning before work
as he sits in his stifling tent
he says her name:

the name of the one once worshiped
at these ancient temple ruins—Her.

With knees lowered
and his head bowed
he feels that name within:

a presence greater
a presence foreign

and yet
there it is:
a part of him.

From the strength of that feeling
he believes he follows a higher calling
and so, every day, he’s able to endure
the dust—
the tedious shifting through dirt
the sweating madness of the desert—

he can even calm the fights
under that merciless sun.

But sometimes at night
while lying on his stiff cot in the dark
after another day of grinding labor
with little gain
that name—the goddess name
may not feel so meaningful

and so, for solace and inspiration
he instead whispers that other name

by contrast, a rather plain name

but like that ancient goddess
the woman of the plain name
also holds a cup to the sun:

no, not a cup of sanctified water—
maybe just a cup of strong coffee
or maybe a cup of stone-cut oats

but aren’t such things also holy?—

this woman, not a goddess
but not wholly unlike one.

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
myth steps blog


heart eye - February 12, 2014s

author’s note:

I wanted to revisit this poem on Valentine’s Day.  A good follow-up to the last poem, I think…

It’s not written to anyone in particular…

…but to everyone in general.


I wonder at you:

when I look into your eyes
I see there’s more there
than I can ever hope to see

so I can’t break away:

where there’s more
than can ever be seen
there is mystery—

there is beauty.

l want to witness your mystery
so I can remember
how beautifully strange
this life is—

realize again
the wonderful strangeness
of my own life:

my half-awake olive-drab eyes
become mysterious creations
when found in the black center
of your fathomless wells:

eyes that mirror my eyes—
eyes the same as mine
and yet, so different…

how strange.

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
Open All Night

split decision - February 9, 2014s

author’s note:

It seemed appropriate to follow a poem about rainbows with this poem about a human being who splits in half.

But perhaps it’s not the best poem for Valentine’s Day…

…or maybe it is.


According to the story:
our problems first began
when the first human being
couldn’t decide which direction
to go in—

North held a promise
but so did South.

Due to this dilemma
the first human then split in half…

Both halves felt the loss; however,
both halves saw the other half
as “the other”:

as the exact opposite of itself

and so
they didn’t try to get back together
but walked away from each other:

one half went North
while the other half went South—
both of them searching for what
might heal the wound…

As with any journey, both halves
found many obstacles in their paths
and because new things can be
so very hard to see
they often mistook those blocks
for the very thing they sought:

at first, thing might seem to be
the right thing
but then, as it was seen
more clearly, it wouldn’t seem so right,
after all.

The happy ending of our story
would appear to be obvious:

after the North half
reached the polar cap
without finding the answer
it would begin to descend
just as the South half
would eventually ascend

then the two of them would meet again
and from the understanding they’d gained
finally realize their mistake.

Unfortunately, on ground level
the situation remains in chaos

we humans keep trying
to go both ways at once—
thus, we continue to split
and split: the halves
just keep on halving—

populating our planet with people
all searching for what might mend
the original wound…

both versions of the story
explain why you seemed so perfect
when I first saw you:

you appeared to be the half
that could make me whole.

But maybe my mistake is fortunate
because this error in perception
has brought us two together
where my blindness may be cured
(at least, in part) along with yours:

yes, I now realize you’re not
my other half, but
I know if I keep working
to see you better
I’ll discover a mirror:

a reflection that shows me something
I’ve missed in myself—
   that helps me retrieve
   that same something.

Likewise, I hope
you can find something of yourself
as you peer into me…

not your other half, of course
but, maybe, a big part…

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
book of the SOULTIME


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