Patrick White (September l5, l948 / Campbell River, British Columbia, Canada)
I Don't Think The Wind Sings For Me Alone
I don't think the wind sings for me alone
even in this isolated space where it
silvers the leaves of the Russian olives
like musical scales. Or every thought and emotion,
every image, symbol, or insight
shares the same myth of origin that I do.
Nor all the words that I call my native language
weren't rooted first in someone else's garden.
As the air I breathe was, as the light that has entered
through many more eyes than mine. What I hear
doesn't belong to me, nor what I see,
my private vision. But when I don't grasp
at clouds and water, everything is my reflection
looking back at me as if there were no one there.
I disappear. And I feel my presence everywhere
as real as the sceptres of Queen Anne's Lace
growing old in the moonlight, or the blue fury
of the wild irises burning in their own fires
like the Pleiades. Who can understand
the circuitous wanderings of the mindstream
white water rafting its own axons in an empty lifeboat
when even the questions you raise about it are not your own?
I may well be that, but tonight, I'm not personally involved.
Things occur like spiritual events. The rat snake
strikes the frog, the shadow flash of a bird
transits the moon. Arcturus descends
before the Summer Triangle with the easy grace
of a light that doesn't realize it's being observed intensely.
And I wonder if we're actualizing each other
in some interdependently original way
that it knows as little about as I do.
Or the dead birch tree that's standing by both of us,
naked in its bones as a fan of coral.
Silly man, now you know how a fly
up against a window feels. Or how a mirror
that's deeper than either your eyes
or the light can see into, keeps its appeal.
Been wondering most of my life
in an aloof but wary mode of gratitude
about the great symphony of love and light and light,
like someone who's been hurt by someone they cherish
without knowing why. And whether to laugh or weep
at the absurd tragicomedies that keep appearing
like vulnerable mushrooms in my sleep.
But tonight, tonight, all I want to hear
is the whisper of a dropp of water running down the sluice
of a blade of stargrass. The eerie rustling of the leaves
as if the trees had something to say to me
about my presence among them that leaves me
half again as estranged as when I first came here
to enjoy a freedom that isn't just a matter of changing gates.
Sad man, but tonight I dance with thousands of waterlilies
under the chandeliers of the stars, in three four time,
as if I just remembered how to waltz with the bride
and bow to a flower like a lunar violin. My heart
doesn't look for its reflection in the fire pit
where I burnt all my life masks like straw dogs
when the sacred ritual was over. I denuded myself
basking in the clear light of the void, until
there was no one left, not even me, to notice.
Comments about this poem (I Don't Think The Wind Sings For Me Alone by Patrick White )
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