Time To Stop Dying And Praise The Sky - Poem by Patrick White
Time to stop dying and praise the sky.
Time to set your eyes free from what
you're looking for and marvel at the stars.
Time to forgo the Leggo girders of your intent,
and offer up a few sand castles to the tide,
release your mind from the petty chores
you apply it to and grow astronomical
in the way you let things come about as they will
without trying to raise a sail or attach
a rudder to chaos, as if you could so easily lead
chaos astray into doing things your way,
forgetting you're not the road, you're
just the one who walks it like a dream figure
in the omnipresence of the rain. So many eyes,
so much to see, and you're still looking at it all
from the angle you were born with.
Sylvia, uncuff your shepherd moons
from the dungeons of your bedposts.
Life is cruel. Stop blaming the swallows for it.
You ever get caught nude in a squall of fireflies before
and stay in the water long enough to feel the delicacy
of their lightning sending little shocks of ecstasy
whitewater rafting down the axons of your deltas
as if you had a chance to drown in your joy
at being alive for a change, instead of holding your head
underwater in your sorrows to see if you're a witch
that's huffed too much rue? Time to let go,
fledgling, your first nightflight into the abyss.
Time to ride your own thermals, my kestrel,
like bannisters down the stairwells of the maple keys
then swoop up like an arrow from the bow of a lead guitarist
and take hold of the moon in your talons.
You can do it. Turn your scales into feathers.
The low raised up high like moonrise
on the threshold of your wingspan, come on, dragon,
one big gulp of atmosphere to overcome
your fear of koans at these precipitous heights,
stop lingering in the doorway like a portrait in a picture frame
it's time, it's time, it's time to jump.
Don't tax the tolerance of the wind for shore-huggers.
Get rid of all those thought chains that tie you
to your own wrist with a hood over your head
and designate your prey like an agenda with a menu.
Thinking about freedom enslaves it. Don't try
to earn it like a gladiator longing for a wooden sword
from the emperor, take it. Be a great thief of fire
and do a victory roll because you got away with it.
You jumped into the black hole of chance
and trillions of stars smiled favourably upon you
like a zodiac of fireflies when the sun's off road on its own.
Sylvia, dry your tears like puddles on the footpath
and let your eyes, vapours in the sky, fly on the wind
as if your seeing weren't a lapwing and your crying
weren't a housewell with a lightbulb that keeps burning out.
Get around like sentience in a dream for a while,
No lack of nightmares in the world to make you sleep
like a trap door spider peeking out from under your eyelids
like a false dawn, or squinting at the stars as if
you were looking into oncoming highbeams,
frozen in your tracks like the ghost of a doe on asphalt.
Lavish some space on yourself and take a bubble-bath
in the universe and you can tell the gargoyles
on your Gothic cathedral you're sitting in a blast furnace
trying to come up with new ideas for stained glass
and you think you might be on to something
more seraphic in its zeal than fire and blood.
You've got the attitude. Maybe it's time
to de-alpha your beatitude as if life were a friend
with nothing to prove like a river that isn't always
swimming for its life or a waterclock that overidentifies
with aqueducts and is convinced time runs in a straight line
only a slight gradient off true midnight well within
the margin of error between the mountains and the swamps,
between this inconceivable life and that unbelievable death.
What are you holding your breath for, it's
a generous atmosphere, let it out like genie from a lamp
no one's ever wished upon before. Imagine,
a star of your own. The first time the light's ever
seen your eyes you weren't trying to hide them
like sunspots, though all those beautiful
auroral storms of yours were a dead give away
there was a star sapphire somewhere beneath
all those bruised orchids of yours you grew for lightyears
in the shadow of an outhouse in a shitty world.
Don't be so corvid in your approach to the moon
you forget you had a bright side once as white as doves
when you went looking for land and they went looking for you.
So what if the dove came back with a leaf in its beak?
Silver-tongued cousin of diamond, you still speak
less incorruptibly, an eye to the eloquence of moonlight
on the dark side of your neglected veracity.
Black is always the colour of wisdom in an aniconic abyss
that compassionately takes every wandering wavelength in,
every one of them a prodigal daughter of the dark mother,
that's you, Sylvia, raven flint-knapped from pure obsidian,
all around you like the thorns and petals of a black rose
little chips and lunettes of a spear point in an eclipse
of the new moon, the new moon, Sylvia, opening
its eyelid like a star or a waterlily out of the muck
in the cauldrons of our fetid starmud working its morphic magic
already one white feather into the flight of a wild, wild swan.
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