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author’s note:

It doesn’t have to be an owl.


One blessed midnight…

I woke to find
my confused face reflected
on the translucent lens
of the owl’s dark eyes.

As the wise one peered deep into me
from its perch on the window sill
I froze dumb, struck to the core—

I could feel its sharp vision scanning
through my assorted troubles—conflicts!—
not judging me nor feeling pity
merely calculating my progress
in our refining process.

Overwhelmed by the intense scrutiny
I soon shut down
but though I wished I’d stayed awake
I felt satisfied after that visit:

what I’d only vaguely sensed before
had been confirmed by experience:

our world does indeed have eyes—
yes, we’re being monitored

and though our watchers
may seem distant and dispassionate
obviously, they must care—
otherwise they wouldn’t track
our steps so intently.

I realize some may claim
the owl was but a dream…

but either way
I can still say:
this work I’m doing matters.

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
dream steps blog


author’s note:

January 25 is Robert Burns night in Scotland.

To be honest, I don’t know his work that well…

But I like the idea of honoring a poet with a special night.


In her dream, a door
swung open to reveal
a wild grass field—

all those stalks
with their luminous tips
darkening down to secret roots

while in the near distance
blue wildflowers circled
the stonewall of a well

then, on the horizon
a purple mountain rose above white mist—
a mysterious pyramid beckoning.

She woke believing this dream proved
a new door would soon open for her—
she’d step from the humdrum
into the visionary life she’d envisioned
for herself

but her patient waiting
didn’t persuade the door
nor did a fierce push

and so
hoping to avoid the pain of frustration
she accepted that job painting stock scenes
on handmade tea cups:

with a few deft strokes of her brushes
she’d create a warmhearted scenario
on the side of each cup—
for instance
a doe and her fawn watching
a rising sun wake
a mellow blue meadow.

As expected
this repetitive work
dulled mind and body
and so, her thoughts shifted from doors
to rummage instead
through the cluttered minutiae
of her mundane life


near the end of one workday
her blank mind lost track
of the routine
and when she snapped her focus back
our painter suddenly saw the usual
with new eyes—

saw anew
the little ceramic cup
she held in her hand—
saw anew
the quiet scene
of a sleeping cottage
watched over by
a full vanilla moon:

the rendering, mediocre
but in its lack of affectation
so innocent…so pure…

what’d seemed so trite
then became the ideal.

Though the five o’clock bell
soon broke her spell
she remained receptive

and so
as our artist opened
the warehouse exit door
she saw anew

the big trash barrel

the gray parking lot
with its faded yellow stripes

and at its border
the beige stucco wall
of the building next door—

saw anew
and finally realized

those things were
her green field
her well
her blue flowers
her purple mountain

her dream.

From that time on
she found her dream
in so many places
in so many things:

as a result
her ordinary world
became an extraordinary world
and her mundane life
became visionary.

myth steps blog
© 2018, Michael R. Patton

author’s note:

I believe we’re all working in the same way…

…and we never retire.


Years ago, I woke to find
a whirling circle of sun-fire
descending from a fog
hovering above me—

yet harmonious—
like the aerial view of a hurricane:
a swirling blaze
of orange and gold tentacles
into a cool aqua eye.

I felt myself lift—drawn in
despite the fire

and in sudden response
the eye expanded
to envelop my vision
so I could know
how the soft surface hue
deepens down into
a well of cobalt blue—

ominous and yet
I wanted to dive in

but in an instant—by instinct—
I shut my shocked eyes

and found relief
for my palpitating heart
in that old familiar darkness

amid the growing stillness
I could sense
the awakening desire
of a higher instinct.

In answer
I tried to open again
but soon learned:
I’d not yet earned
more than that brief glimpse.

Ever since
I’ve worked to build
the strength needed
to accept
that which I want
yet fearfully reject.

in fatigue, I often sloth

but even then
I can sense the mystery lurking
on the other side of my eyelids

so I remain tantalized…


© 2017, Michael R. Patton
myth steps blog

author’s note:

It’s not my trail—it’s our trail.


When I first glimpsed
that mountain peak
I believed

I’d seen my destiny:

I believed
I finally understood
the purpose
of this rising trail.

as I continued to step
I did so with intent.

I’ve doubted the reality
behind my stated aim
because clouds and other
atmospheric conditions
usually keep the peak
hidden from me.

Fortunately, the work
of putting one foot
in front of the other
distracts my mind
from excessive worry

that is
until fatigue finally catches me

then I’ll begin to wonder if
I’m actually making progress
or if what I seek even exists.

And so, I’ll stop
and gaze upward
once again—
desperate for
another glimpse…

and indeed
with patience
I’ll eventually see a gleam
of purple and gold:

an image experienced
as a vision—
proclaimed by the spirit
to be truth.

with doubt diminished
and hope renewed
I’ll continue to continue.

Though my heart will want to wait
for another bright beam
I know, from experience:
to linger longer
will only slow my progress

and to walk while looking up
is a sure way to trip and fall.

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

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