Patrick White

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

Don'T Try To Force Me To My Knees To Pay Homage - Poem by Patrick White

Don't try to force me to my knees to pay homage to the world
you're living in, and I won't ask you to verify my last mirage.
Let's just pass through each other imperturbably intense
as two cosmic events encountering in this immensity
like galaxies in a ghost dance when the night
is an abysmal radiance, and I'm mystically intrigued
with the turn of your earlobes, oysters making pearls,
where silver ripples of rain are hooped like the orbits
of shepherd moons on a concentric abacus of prayer-beads,
and though I'm not trying to account for anything,
what metaphors they might have in common
with the golden ratio of sunflowers and seashells.

I want to bathe naked with you in the sacred pools
of a silence that isn't polluted by the history of our sorrows.
Even if they prove as waterproof as a twelve volume tattoo
they'll wash off in the stars if you scrub hard enough.
I want to look at you with innocent eyes again and again
directly into the eyes of a human insight into creation
and the occult labour of enlightened destruction
that follows in the wake of winged heels that are blown
like blossoms off the green boughs of their night songs
so that an apprentice of your heart like I am
might sweeten like an art in the afterglow
of the many journeys, many sunsets that have flavoured it
like an old brandy remembering what it was like to be a young wine.

I don't want to broker your light through the middle man
of a lens, a mirror, a window that treated its stars like dirt.
I don't want to analyze why you're sitting on the futon
crying, and feel the supple silence after I ask you why
rigidify into a maze of lab rats looking for antidotes
to a snakepit of radioactive wavelengths that can't be trained
to bite somebody else if that's what's on their mind.
Why spring? Why autumn? Why passions you pick up
like a fever from the stars on a hot summer night
when you fall in love with the cool poultice of the moon
lying like a waterlily pad on your forehead, trying
to draw the infection out like enlightenment from
the iris of your third eye rooting in the spiritual looking glass
of a crystal skull suffering from the chromatic aberration of its rainbows?

I promise not to shatter your delusions, if you
never stop setting my doorways on fire everytime
you walk into the room like a total eclipse of the senses
in black underwear with a smile like a starmap on your face.
I want to walk down a long, country road at night
with you in a state of grace that intensifies
the hermit thrush's longing for the unattainable.
I want to feel your golden needle penetrate my voodoo heart
like a love song that never mended, a wound
even the latest surgeons don't know how to stitch up.

If I praise your body like the resurgence of a sea on the moon,
don't misconstrue that as an insult to the fire
on the altar of your mind. If I touch you and light comes
on the first day of creation to the fingertips of the blind,
how is that different from nocturnal wildflowers
opening like eyes in the starfields of the mystically inclined?

If I seek illumination from the dark mysteries of the blood
like a black rose in a cult of thorns, and my intensities
engender life forms on planets that seem uninhabitably mad to you,
and you're not convinced there are evergreens that germinate
and bloom like a Zen garden of pine-cones in fire,
I won't challenge the evanescent vapour of a dream
that's haunting you like the fragrance of a song for the dead
you can't get out of your clothes, or those boas of moonlight
that feather the bays and contours of your lonely island shores
as if someone who had drowned in the emotional undertow
of your breakers, trying to get to you, were about to be
washed up like the master of some lost purpose
under the eyelid of the next wave, and you, just out of reach.

I will not ask you what that was. Enigma favours you.
More than one petal on a sundial and time flowers
in all directions at once. I will not disturb the dead
that are buried in you. I have my own, and sharing
isn't disclosure. Tell your ghosts they're as free
to answer the seance of your longing as they ever were.

I don't expect you to translate the poetry of your silence
into the same language you speak to me in, nor the river
to uproot the tributaries of the lifelines that sustain it.
In every affair, one is the grammar, and the other,
the inspiration of the holy book they collaborate on
like the biography of water's fathomless afterlives.

And none of the rules, like your tears, indelible
should the wind or the rain decide to wash them out
like a flashflood of stars in a spring run-off
that sweeps your heart downstream like a message
in a bottle for someone else should you decide
you need a stable bridge not an unmoored lifeboat like me.

If you're attached to the danger of living as I am
when I'm with you, who's in need of saving
when you can drown a whole ocean of sacred syllables
in a few simple tears or a dragon of crazy wisdom
with fireflies in its eyes and a moonrise in its heart
in a single star in the rear view mirror of last night's dream
where objects, like lovers, are always closer than they seem.

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, January 16, 2013

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