I ask the patient Reader to indulge me…


 

I ask the patient reader to indulge me…

…as I offer the poem below—a poem of my own making—for possible inclusion in our new mythology.

Though the poem isn’t a myth…

I believe it includes qualities needed in any mythology, any religion…

To be clear about what these qualities are:

The poem looks to our past at the same time that it looks toward a possible future.

It considers the soul, the spiritual, while remaining grounded in the necessities of this world.

It offers us a way to deal with the pain of this world.  It also suggests a means for enacting change—change that can lessen that pain.

Without being giddily optimistic, it assures us there’s hope—if we work.

It puts us all on equal footing.  It says we’re all in this business together.  We can’t rise ourselves up by lowering another—we’d just be projecting our inferior self onto someone else.

It asks us to reclaim the shadow.

The poem tells us there can be joy, even in times of sadness.  At the very least, we can appreciate that we’re participating in an incredible endeavor called human life—we’re participants in a great mystery.

But enough with the hyperbolic preamble—I should let the poem speak for itself…
 

PEDRO

Yes, Pedro and I
can still beam joy
in these spinning days
of confusion and blood.

While I sing
that child grins his cracked teeth, rings
his tambourine—
I pan for gold
with my banjo.

Yesterday, I took him to Congress
believing we’d at least
have the satisfaction
of feeling superior, upstairs
in the balcony.

But I just kept on seeing us
down below.  So

I brought Pedro back out
to bask in the sun’s rays
and witness the smiles
of the wounded.
No one ever loses his soul—
it’s only misplaced.

Many claim
that many children now
grow up
with their souls
outside their bodies.
But Pedro and I, we both agree:
it’s always been that way.

Still, we’re hopeful fools.
Pedro says
that if enough get mended
the rest just might
click into place.  A chain reaction.
The teeter-totter effect.

To that end,
we spindle invisible projects,
turning the cranks inside our mines,
hoisting up buckets of ash,
all the while searching for
the occasional
jitterbug diamond.

Minuscule, but what can one do?
Our hands seem so small.

The question is:
are we winning fast enough?
A monster
—on the opposite side of the wall—
jacks the odds against us.

But maybe the wall is illusion.
So maybe we can bargain.

In any case, Pedro and I remain
solidly determined
to task happy:
my banjo is banjoy
and Pedro’s diamonds dance
like jumping beans
on his tambourine

to keep our eyes from bruising
when the tears begin to sting.

© 2011, Michael R. Patton
dreaming steps

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About Michael Patton

I am a poet, novelist, essayist, cartoonist, graphic artist, peace miller, new mythologist, and fledgling world citizen.... I grew up in Northwest Arkansas and have lived and worked all over the United States.... I'm self-taught, for the most part--which is like searching for the right door in the dark. It's an on-going process.... I don't want to write MY story, I want OUR story, so that's what I'm studying: the human story: past, present, future, in its many aspects--including the spiritual. I'm proceeding at a slow crawl.... I don't see the inner world and outer world as separate. By learning about myself, I learn about others, I learn about my world.... Conversely, as I struggle to understand what I see OUT THERE, I learn about myself.... But to be clear: I don't claim any special understanding. I'm still purblind, still only half-awake.... After frustrating experience with the publisher of my first novel, I've published on my own, beginning with e-books, with plans to move into print and audio. Even video.... Along with a second novel, I've now published eight books of poetry. Each poetry book focuses on a theme. For instance, the collection GLORIOUS TEDIOUS TRANSFORMATION is about the slow difficult wonderful process of change.... In that book, as with all my work, I try to be accessible to a general audience, while also striving to achieve a certain literary quality.
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