Patrick White

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

Don'T Think I Owed It To Myself, But I Have Endured - Poem by Patrick White

Don't think I owed it to myself, but I have endured.
Scarred and broken and as full of escarpments
some bad mason laid in like a Cubist stairwell
in the Canadian Shield. Experience the sum
of all my failures, it's a strange book to quote from.
I tell people not to listen to anything but their own hearts,
but they take that as a sign of creative sincerity
and continue to listen out of the corners of their lives,
defying my unmastery by paying stricter attention.
You'd think someone who had lived sixty four years the hard way
like a wild mountain goat on a high, noble path
the rest of the herd doesn't take much anymore
as they did when the more siderealized shepherds
used to drive them to the Zen pastures of the moon,
would have his act down pat by now.

Still got a few gamma ray bursts of demonic energy
left in me yet, a black revolver of comets left in the clip
to take a few more pot shots on a drive by at the sun just for fun
as it's going down like a mailbox at the side of the road
with a waning rooster painted on it like a fire hydrant.
You can spend your whole life as preparation
for a moment that never comes. Some people
don't want to catch up to their star.
They just want to follow it as far as they can go.
They want to explore the offroad mysteries along the way.
Some ghosts radiate like well known constellations
and others roses in the dark that are just as happy to emanate.

Not in the habit of judging the ashes of others
by their constellations or their urns,
I've had more of a precessional inclination
to scatter them like seagulls on the wind
just to watch them hover motionless over a precipice,
each fixed in space like a mobile of sheet music
or the paradigmatic silence of a symphony
living the moment like a riff in the heart of time.
Wherever I've gone I've tried to leave signs
of where I'd been as delusory clues for those
sleeping walking in their delusional lostness,
roomy, lunar waterpalaces of the mind to move into
with more infinitely spacious windows
than there are condemned houses
in the slums of the usual zodiac of clockwork origins.

Not infrequently I can see time in a better light
than it deserves, and I like people that have been
sand blasted in the tide like a piece of broken glass
that washed up on the beach without losing its translucency.
An alumnus of the underground schools
for the occult science of new moons,
every moment of my life since
I've been the master apprentice of my own dark beginnings.
The serpent fire at the base of my spine woke up
like a fire alarm in the hallway of a burning house
shrieking for life at the window, and my vertebrae,
playing by ear, the silver-tongued flute,
and the picture-music within me, the snake-charmer,
swaying like a river reed going with the flow
to keep me on the same wavelength as lightning
looking for a place to strike, intrigued and alive.

It's the arrogance of consciousness to think
it's anymore than an eddy in the mindstream
that's got intimate connections with the greater sea of awareness
it's heading toward like a maple leaf with a flightplan
that's got nothing to do with how things fall out.
The world turns and things are relegated
to stolen milk cartons like old albums weaned
from the nippled turn tables of a breast implant.
The past is a jigsaw puzzle where all the pieces
keep changing shape like the fossils of a man
who isn't comfortable in his death bed.

Over the course of time this vale of tears
slowly evaporates spiritually into the heat
like heart-shaped morning glory leaves
steaming into the dawn
like ghosts that had to get back to their graves,
arising off the lake like a mass exorcism,
or the third eye of the sun that shines at midnight
from the bottom up on the roots of the earth
as if it were trying to teach blind, star-nosed moles
to see the stars burning in the day
from the bottom of a dry housewell
that echoes like a firefly in the spider mount
of a hollow telescope listening to the cosmic hiss
of a message it's waiting to receive
that's already been delivered
like a star that's strong and true,
but apocalyptically behind the times
as if one person's past were another person's present
and past and future and present
were all living co-terminously in the moment
like the triune identity of time looking three ways,
and probably more if you were take its lifemask off,
simultaneously, so when the wind blows
through my musical skull in this celestial desert of stars
because I listen attentively to the lyrics
like a nightbird waiting for an answer
to its amorous enquiry, I know I'm not
singing out of my ears just to overhear myself talk.
My world's been complete since the Big Bang
and everything after, the prophetic echo
of a future memory of cosmic events
that happened without me billions of light years ago.


Comments about Don'T Think I Owed It To Myself, But I Have Endured by Patrick White

There is no comment submitted by members..



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?



Poem Submitted: Friday, August 17, 2012



[Report Error]