Every Path - Poem by Patrick White
Every path is as wide with compassion
as the planet that you're walking on
so there's really never any danger of falling off.
I didn't lie
and you didn't tell the truth:
two sins of omission
trying to fit lenses to clarity
like fashionable eyewear.
It's what people do
when they don't want to see too much.
And I'm sure you've recreated me in your own image long since
I discovered good-bye was older than eternity
and more absolute than space.
I remember you asking me once
after we'd finished making love in the red tide
as the breakers dashed their galaxies against the rocks
and we both sprawled there naked dripping with stars
what I thought a human was and I replied
an interpretation with a face.
And you asked why we were here
and I said to listen to the sea beside someone like you.
And later as we were walking back to the fire
you looked back at our footprints glowing in the sand
like tiny island universes following us
like dance-steps painted on the shore
and pulling yourself in tight against my arm
you whispered I think we're the music they're dancing to.
And ever since I've cherished
an ancient silence deep within me
whenever I've looked at the stars and thought of you.
I've burned a lot of bridges
since that night of doors
with thresholds that couldn't be crossed
and windows that turned their backs
on what they couldn't see through.
I should have thought by now
I might have forgotten you
but you're always the stranger
who shows up at the gate of the abyss
just as I'm about to enter
and throwing me a blindfolded kiss
says Here. Interpret this.
As if it were some kind of koan
you wanted me to break like a fortune-cookie
or Etruscan linear B
or the water of a womb that's letting go
like the dark night sea that still surrounds us
as if all these eras of time
that have driven past us like stars
driving past roadkill
on the ghost road of the Milky Way
could be clocked
by the heartbeat of an embryo
born posthumously in the past without a future.
And sometimes it comes to me
like a glass eye rounded by the waves of its eyelid
washing up at my feet like a well-spoken memory
that lost its edge to the bluntness of time
there's nothing natural about human nature
because there's nothing supernatural about the divine.
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