Jupiter Gone From The Window - Poem by Patrick White
Jupiter gone from the window. Homage
to the ambiguously forgotten moments of light
that shine down upon the earth awhile
whether anyone's watching this time of night
or not, intimate fireflies of the terrible largesse
of the diminished gods that once dwarfed our childhoods
in the shadows of the shepherd moons they cast
like an abacus of wandering stars. Thaumaturgic
strangers at the gates of our youthful wonder
as we cried ourselves to sleep at night because
we were born too early to walk on another planet
surrealistically pictured in the collectible spacescapes
of the bubble gum cards we swapped like Jupiter for Mars.
Nothing more hurtful than the unrequited love affairs
that ached with longing at the city limits of our starfields.
Postcards from the edge of nowhere left unsigned.
The first betrayal of astonishment on the thresholds of time.
A curse of distances that left us spell bound
by an abyss of inconceivable mysteries illuminating
the ancient texts of our estranged starmud homesick
to return to the original fire wombs of our shining
instead of being marooned here burning our ships
on the beach of a circumnavigable island
as if we could do nothing but under reach ourselves.
Lightyears ago before I discovered thought was faster
in the gaping interstellar spaces of my own mind than light
and sight was a kind of love that touched the heart of things
and brought them infinitely nearer than a mirror or a lens.
That what I really longed for from the intangible brilliance
of their emphatic absence in my life was to
humanize the unknown with the evanescent metaphors
that bridged the gaps between our departures and arrivals
like analeptic waterclocks thawing the tear ducts
of cold eternities eager to learn as much as they could
from the brevity of our unbearable passage through
the recurrent perishing of our lives and unborn deaths.
No lack of midnight specials flashing in the dark,
I grew up looking down the long Buntline barrels
of alta-azimuth refractors with small spotting scopes
aiming at things impossible to hit. No collateral damage
from ricochets, except for the occasional planet or star
through the heart, and the childhood fever
of the wounded wonder of it all lodged there forever.
Despite what the Cyclopean optimists insist
with their big third eyes orbiting like automated proxies
for their spiritual lives in a brutally cold, space
you have to look into the dark if you want to see the stars.
I looked up at them out of the immensity of my solitude
and they looked deeply back out of their abyss into me
and once our eyes met and mingled like wary animals
in the woods at night, out of the corner of a window,
fireflies hair-braided into the willows, in the cuffs of a dream,
in the nebular chandeliers of a lover's eyes moist
with the Pleiades, none of us have been the same ever since
like mini nirvanic flashbacks from the eternal sixties.
Light upon light, the way of gods and humans in the world,
and well beyond, o so much deeper into the dark
where seeing leaves our eyes behind, and it's not
the insights that are revealed along the roadsides
of the starmaps we've memorized like wildflowers
that our divining aspires to, not the lamps
of the nightwatchmen with master keys to secure
the doors of perception our childhoods walked through,
light through the black holes and pupils of our eyes
and telescopes out into the open of our expanding minds
and their multi-tasking worlds, a seance of friendly faces
at the end of a tunnel of light, but to be enlightened
by the shining of the secrets that leave you in the dark,
burning in the window on the grave yard shift
long after Jupiter has set in the west over the Lanark hills.
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