Air for the Soul

air - April 2, 2013m

In my post on “experience” last week, I used 391 words…

Yesterday, I discovered I’d already conveyed the same basic idea, using a mere 42 words.

But let me warn you: those 42 words are in a poem (the poem below).

I hoist that warning because many good readers are frightened of poetry.

And I don’t blame them.

For one thing, we were tested on poetry in high school English.  So, our first associations may not have been so pleasant.

For another thing, many believe cotemporary poetry to be impenetrable.  Too abstract.  Too obscure.

I know the complaint, and I would answer: the aim of such poetry is to get at what can not be expressed in words.  A heroic effort by the poet.

But to be honest, that heroic effort sometimes requires a heroic effort by the reader.

So, though I’m a poet, I can appreciate why so many are afraid of poetry.

At the same time, as a poet and reader of poets, I’d like to coax other readers back to poetry…

Poetry can remind us of our wisdom—what we know but ignore in the rush…

Through poetry, we can regain a sense of the ineffable, if only for a moment.

Ideally, our religions perform this same function.  However, many of us now say, “I’m spiritual, but not religious.”

I am one of those many.  And so, if I wish to return to the ineffable, to the inexpressible truth, I must find ways of my own choosing…

…ways that will deepen my experience of this life, this mysterious life.

Because poetry can be one of those ways, I hope it will be included in our new mythology…

We can include those other 391 words as well…

I do like those other words…I chose them with considerable thought and emotion.

However, less is often more.  I don’t know if the poem below creates a sense of the ineffable, but it is effectively economical.

And not so obscure.

Furthermore, I think it leaves us with an opening at the end…a space…

A space to be filled by the reader.  Perhaps filled with a thought, a memory…

…or perhaps, with a silent feeling.


I once bemoaned all
I thought I might’ve missed

until I realized:
no matter what I’ve done
I never stopped breathing
and even
the driest air
feels so dense
in my lungs—

such life in what appears to be
so immaterial!

© 2013, Michael R. Patton
sky rope poetry


About Michael Patton

I am a poet, novelist, and fabulist...A new mythologist, a peace miller, a dream worker...I don't qualify as an illustrator or photographer--I just "make pictures"...I have thirteen books available at amazon... I currently reside in northwest Arkansas, but 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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