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author’s note:

“Walking on water wasn’t built in a day.”
                  — Jack Kerouac
 

WORKING WITH WATER

When I realized
what mental blocks
held me in check
I thought
(or hoped)
I could just jump over
those impediments

but though I was often able to elevate
I’d always land back in captivity

finally I conceded:
one must wear down such resistances
slowly—
the way water wears down rock.

Now, many years later
I’m still working to rid myself
of various barriers
through the tedious process
of erosion

even though I’ve come to see:
no matter how much I scrub
I’ll never be completely free

but the more freedom I earn
the more I want
so though I may pause
I’ll never stop washing

and besides

life constantly pours water
down our back
so why not use it
to optimal effect?

A child will whine about a bath
yet jump into a bubbling fountain
and dance

so whenever I’m doused
nearly to drowning
I tell myself:
think of the fountain of your life
and dance

dance and scrub and dance.
 

myth steps blog
© 2017, Michael R. Patton

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iris capacity 240w - June 14, 2015s

author’s note:

“Water is poetry.”
       — Jerry Brown, Governor, California

“Poetry is water.”
       — anonymous
 

THE IRIS

When I asked myself
why this life gives me water
beyond my capacity to hold

I found my answer in the Iris flower

that catches the lashings of the storm
in the cup of its petals

until the thin stem finally buckles
and the rainwater spills out
to nourish the earth below:

a gift now flavored
with the complex scent of the Iris…

Relieved but empty
the flower cup then lifts again
to receive more rain.
 


© 2015, Michael R. Patton
dream steps: the blog

author’s note:

As they say in the movies: based on a true story.
 

GRIEF WATER

In the time of intense grief
I went to the water:

I felt I needed a good washing

and only an ocean would suffice
for such monumental emotions

so I waded out into a shallow bay
toward a red sun dying on the horizon—

though we can not ford the sea
we still desire to lessen distances
between ourselves
and what lies beyond touch.

So I did not stop
until the cool waters
made my chest—my heart—
hiccup.

I’d immersed myself in
a dismal brown brew
rank with oil splotches
riding agitated waves
bloodied by the sunset.

Yet somehow, in a few moments
I cleared—I calmed—

I became a man finding himself
by losing himself
as he reawakened to a life, to a world
so pleasantly strange

until I suddenly realized
I had reached the border
inhabited by that hypnotic
unseen siren
who silently coaxes you
to take that extra step

long before you’re ready.

So I dredged my feet up
from the water muck—
I walked myself back out:

with the sense
that my little trip
had turned a switch–
I still don’t understand the mechanism—
I just know: after what was less than ritual
I felt solidly strong: I could work again.

To be honest,
I still carried the grief—
but not as a shadow on my back;
now, as one might cradle a baby.
 

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
COMMON COURAGE: the book

wisdom creek - March 26, 2014s

author’s note:

Sometimes, I’ll ask myself if a poem is really true to my experience.

I didn’t have to ask about this one.
 

WISDOM CREEK

I usually I try to hide from you
the strains of my inflated violin—

a baroque score devoted to
self-aggrandizement.

I prefer, instead, to write about
how I sat down in solitude
at the wisdom creek.

Truth is:
under the spell
of such high-strung illusion
I often neglect to visit
those healing waters…

but blinded by my operatic cloud
I’ll eventually trip

and land down hard, on my back—back
at the wisdom creek

then, in my stunned silence
I will hear a deeper me
and in listening, discover
some solid peace

for a little while, at least

as my monumental tumult
eases down, flows down
the stream—gone—

only to return, too soon

but with the rebound,
my song resonates
with true strength
—a fresh clarity

for a little while,
at least…
 

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
SOULTIME

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