Patrick White

Rookie (September l5, l948 / Campbell River, British Columbia, Canada)

A Moment In The World, With No Regret - Poem by Patrick White

A moment in the world, with no regret
I cancel the madness, the sadness, the hurt, the pain.
I cancel the thorns on the footpaths through
the labyrinths of the brain, I absolve the dragons
of the vows they took to protect the taboos
around the silver snake skins the moon shed
on the lake just before it went insane among
its secluded death masks. A nanosecond of peace
symbolically invoked against the gestures of darkness
calculating the odds of it ever happening
by a poet who lays his reason down
like the sacred syllable of an astrolabe in the grass
and shouts hallelujah at the stars until he's got them
so well trained to the echoes of his voice
they spontaneously pour their best season of aged light
into the seashells and wine-cellars of his ears.

I short circuit the fuses and nerves
of the terrorist's spinal cord wired to hatred
and say, brother, you can't make a watergarden
of bloodshed in paradise by blowing up children
like waterlilies or trying to teach a snakepit
of downed powerlines to dance to the sound
of your Ousi or Ak-47 like a flute. Making scar tissue
of the moon isn't proof of the sincerity of your wound.
Allah is great. Not petty, clever, and cunning.
Yahweh made friends with a man from Uruk.
Eve was a starlit night in Ethiopia and the mother
of us all. Adam means the red man. Melanin
is a mood ring. Our flags are torn like blossoms
from a bough. O improbable cause just for once
take the barking dog off the short chain of your mind
and will, and let it run free in a wild starfield
while you lie down in paradise alive and well now
writing love lyrics for the roses in the valleys
you wander into without forgetting the name of God.

And you put down the rod. You the whip. You
the voice and the tongue that throws acid
in the eyes of your native language like a spitting cobra.
You the book that drank saliva out of another man's mouth
to justify the public fountains piped from the sewers
of the Via Cloaca of political affairs. Get
real naked, as nude as the truth, and take a bath
in the stars for once to see what a little bit of dirt
you really are, compared to the creative radiance
of their magnificence. Take a few minutes off the clock
and throw them like flower seeds that glow
in the dark starmud of your soul on the dungheap
of your ambitions and taking root like a heart
in your body again, a blessing of change
that transforms you from the inside out,
watch them bloom like starclusters of New England asters
with astronomical aspirations undeterred
by the black dwarfs of yours that burn out
like a matchbook of solar flares along the return journey
of the looping lightyears of the humbler eras
of your second innocence better than the first
because you've overcome the worst in yourself
the better to receive it as a gift you didn't
give yourself behind your back like a shadow
of what it's supposed to be. Put down your arrogance.
Put down your deceit. How far can you get in life
anyway? Think of the 3.5 billion years
of upright walking on the earth it took put one footprint
down on the moon. Already standing on two good legs
like pillars of the public why do you reach out for
the crutch of a human who's only got one
on their lunar lander and as much hope
as the nostalgic ghost of a child amputee?

I'll reserve judgement for another day, but for now
put it on hold as if you had another more important
call to take from a nightbird you haven't heard from
in a long time, trying to clarify your original longing
for something just as real, as it is sublime
whether you attain it or not, or die happily in the attempt,
as long as it takes for an electron to jump
the quantum gap between orbitals to release
a photon of insight, stop underwhelming yourself,
the rest of us, and the world. On the face of it
we're all on the same side of seeing as our eyes are,
the same bank of being as our presence here is
listening to our mindstreams whisper lyrical suggestions
to the prophetic skulls of moonrocks caught in the flow
like glacial lockets of an underground ice age
dreaming of a day it might rain on the moon.

Un-noose the knot wrapped around your neck
like the umbilical cord of a premature birth.
Unloose the Circlet of the Western Fish
and throw them back in the water to swim away.
Kick the stool away like rabies from a mad moondog
and take it as the first sign of a parallel universe
that today's not a good day to commit suicide,
to kill someone, to injure and maim, to bully the earth
because you're in debt to your own self-worth.

One riff of picture-music. One gust of stars
in the dread locks of the willows, one sip of time
running like clear water down from the world mountain again,
that isn't polluted by the oilslicks of our own reflections in it,
one moment of silence, to stop and remember your death
like a muse that comes every night to sleep on your grave
because you failed at everything she urged you to do
and you did, by losing and growing, losing and growing
against the angel in the way you never hesitated to take on.

One little mutant side-step of evolution off the beaten path
so there's no road kill in the wake of the journey
that's revealing your life to you like crows and crocuses
in the spring, self immolations of sumac in the fall
because you've finally found something worth dying for
that demands nothing less than everything of your life
all the time you've got it like a burning candle
to befriend the light by flowering a little. Vetch
in the quantumly entangled starfields, or Lady at the Gate
over by the abandoned pump on the moon
with the broken trigger of a waxing handle for leverage.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, January 22, 2013

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