Walking in the mist one day
I saw a short, thick rainbow
that curved down to land
behind a wooden gate.
So I slipped inside
but, of course, the rainbow’s tail
had already disappeared.
I knew that those bands of color
were actually droplets of water
caught by the sun’s rays
at a 42-degree angle
as they drifted in the air.
Still, a desire for beauty creates a wish.
But perhaps more than that:
we see, we sense, we feel
the portal, the passage, the window
that we seek
has suddenly appeared before us
after all our storm
and the innocent in us thinks:
“If I could just pass under that arch...
“I’d enter a new world,
a world where I would find the one
I’ve seen in the night mirror--
the hero, the heroine--sometimes both appear.
They promenade, driving the chariot of the sun.
Or else use their strong gentle hands
to fashion dragons and rabbits
“I’ve only felt them for fleeting moments
--just enough to realize
that if I could seize them in full light
I’d find an earthly paradise.”
But rainbows are not just
droplets of water--also symbols
and therefore, evaporate
when you try to grab hold.
I trust that an opening exists--
after all, I have the memory, the feeling
of that memory.
But I know
I can’t force that door open--
I’ve already tried--
so I pray
that I may
--as the blessed fool does--
until I accidentally trip
over its line
--and then in a jeweled moment,
suspended in time--
be transformed, from lead into gold, from a sparrow
into an eagle.
Yes, such things do happen--
but in truth, the accident is no accident:
it’s hard work. Years of hard work,
maybe even lifetimes
We all feel the potential--we must--
why else would we worship such arcs
as are bridges and rainbows?
I believe--no, I know--
that with this desire
to drive us,
we’ll fool ourselves
all along the way
so that we can arrive
at that arched gate
with the toll
© 2009 Michael R. Patton go back