Patrick White

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

Lightyears Away From Your Green, Green Eyes - Poem by Patrick White

Lightyears away from your green, green eyes
in this labyrinth of black holes and cul de sacs
where the entrances to love are as inescapable
as the exits, and still, legends of the inconceivable,
unlost, unfound as I am, how could I have imagined
time and distance would not diminish the intensity
of your power to make the dark bloom within me
like a rumour of flowers on a previously
uninhabitable planet that keeps jumping orbitals
to release this ghost of a photon like an enlightened memory
of the interlude we were to one another once,
when all you had to do was glance at me
with that ferocity of intent to live life immensely
and I could hear my dragons singing in your flames
like heretics in the bliss of a revelation they never denied.

The myths of origin we attribute to the light
may lie over the course of time to protect the truth
like a passport that identifies the thresholds we crossed
like burning bridges to get to the other side of nowhere
real fast as we swore allegiance to our homelessness,
but the constellations we translated each other into
were the conflagrations of real dragons born
of the fictions of fireflies. Root-fires in our starmud.
The truce we both made with the warriors
of our solitude that ate our hearts like wild strawberries
if we ever did lose it for awhile like a holy war
that left Jerusalem undefended. I always loved
the metal in your spirit like an alloy of water and light
and the darkness of the ore they were embodied in
as I stood there beside you like the urn of a lighthouse
looking at the stars at the beginning of the Bronze Age
over the expansive starfields of the wine-dark night sea
as if all journeys had been woven on the loom of the moon
into the aniconic wavelengths of the flying carpet
we were riding on like serpentine picture music
over the precipitous event horizons of albino worlds to come
where blazing is the blindness and if you want
to see each other in the dark as we did you have to
blow the candles out like the masts of white canes
on a liferaft without a star to guide them.

You overwhelmed me like the eclipse of a hurricane rose
as I fell on your thorns, the crescents of your lunar moods,
and the antidotes in their fangs repeatedly like a junkie
on the white nights of a Saturnalian paradise
that shone like the sun at midnight on the winter solstice.
Even the shadow of your absence was a lost eyelash
brighter than this road of ghosts on a summer night
thriving with life I’ve wandered down alone ever since
the phoenix was fledged like the flightfeathers of the sumac
in the fall and it was time to abandon the nests
we laid upon each other’s heads like laurels and crowns going down
like Corona Borealis shedding its flames like the leaves
of the abandoned birch groves it’s still a delight to remember
once burned like a green dragon in the saline taste of your tears.

The black arts people practice upon each other’s hearts
in a shallow time shore-hugging their passions
like the eyes greater tides left in their wake might long
for love to sweep them away in the undertow of their dreams,
but at the deep end of the pool you knew how to hunger
like fire for the waters of life you wanted to dance upon
like the graves of your enemies where the skull and crossbones
marks the spot where you buried them at sea with hasty honours
from the flashing sabres of your laughter as they went overboard
like the moon in the way they fell for you on their own swords.

Imp of my spirit, water-sylph, rogue star and demon,
there aren’t enough tree rings in my heartwood
or skulls on the abacus of my calendars and rosaries
to count the times I stopped for eras along the way
and wondered what rivers you walked beside on your own
as if your tears were solely reserved for the stars
like broken mirrors and intergalactic chandeliers
that fell like a glass blown ice storm thawing into rain.

It’s not my place anymore to say much to you,
but I saturate the space around you with millions of eyes
that run like sacred syllables along my tongue
like a blade of stargrass on the cutting edge of love
that’s mastered the silence like a foreign language
only the two of us could ever understand. And I know well
the darkness within you that is deeper than the watersheds
of night, but even for a moment of insight
if I could shine for you one more time like a star
through the distant veils of your treeline, even
as it descends like Vega into the Orphic darkness
of its renewal, black Isis, Queen of Heaven,
who keeps the sailors from drowning who wear
the prophylactic of your sidereal tattoo
on the left palm of their hand like a lonely constellation
of one, what could I possibly say at this remove
to indelibly impress you with the staying power
of the furious tenderness of love except to thank you
for not blunting the sword on the stone you drew it from?

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Poem Edited: Monday, July 29, 2013

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