Patrick White

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

My Solitude A Housewell Or Two Deeper Than Love - Poem by Patrick White

My solitude a housewell or two deeper than love,
even at noon when the shadows sheathe their daggers,
I can see the stars and fireflies dancing like eyes
down here together to the riverine music of watersnakes.

And I don’t feel confined to my own heart, anymore
than my mind does by the nightsky, or the light
to the fountainhead of the star it emanates from.

Because I loved you as the embodiment
of my own creative freedom, I’ve never had to gnaw
at my chains like obedience on a short umbilical cord
wishing it had asked for wings from love
instead of a kite. And on clear nights that remind me of you

I rise like a fish to the lure of the moon
when I’m just ruddering among my river reeds
to keep my place in the mindstream like a bookmark
at a purple passage that could never read me the same way twice,

and when I let you catch me as if I just jumped
into your lifeboat out of the blue, what I loved most
about you back then, and still do, is that you always
threw me back into the depths of myself

and each time I found myself swimming
in a deeper abyss than the one you just pulled me out of
like a waterclock, I could feel the ripple
of a mermaid flow through the heartwood
I carved myself out of to be the figurehead
at the bow of your ghost ship as we ploughed
the moon together like a mirage in a fog
sowing the waters of life with stars and fireflies.

When my feelings get too big to say anything
to my intimate other, I’ve always found it wise
to rely on the light in the moonlit window
as a silver-tongued interpreter of the silence.

Even after all these lightyears we’ve been disappearing
into the aerial blue of each other’s distances,
I see you out of the corner of my third eye sometimes
as you were when you were the flightfeather of poetry itself,
the burning dove, the arrow of the raven
that struck me in the heart like the bull’s-eye
of an eclipse that never failed to hit the mark.

And out of the starmuck of human confusion
and obsessive lovelessness, something beautiful
blooms in the dark like the fragrance of an occult rose
at a seance of the heart that summons me
out of my solitude like a weary spirit back to the many roads
I’ve walked down alone at night like a pilgrim
that’s lost sight of the shrines he left behind him
like the prophetic skulls of the roadkill the ants trivialize
by trying to punctuate the emptiness in the sockets of their eyes.

You don’t live it. You can’t see it. You can
visualize all you want, turn yourself into
a retinal circus, but when it gets right down to oracles
you’re visionarily blind if you don’t blood
the hungry ghosts of your abstractions.

Beyond solid, you were evanescently real
and the only kind of bond that could exist
between us was an open palm of space and time
as if every meeting were a penumbral farewell.

Time thinks it’s getting the better of me,
and there are days I don’t doubt it, but
more often than not when I light a cigarette up
with a starmap on the corner of me and the universe
at the crosswalk of shadows and thresholds up ahead
knowing I’ll probably jay walk further down the road,
or find a short cut faster than the speed of thought,

you appear apparitionally out of nowhere
like the gnosis of some lost gospel of the night
about the heart and the body and the mind
and the light and the light and the light of love
that shines in the eyes of the dragons of desire
like black diamonds flowing in the heat
of their own fires with the intensity of shadowless mirrors
that may have seemed cold as glaciers on the outside,

frozen waterclocks and housewells, but inside,
like these facets of you, and this is how I know
I’m dying like diamonds, I’m ageing like jewels.
Fire and water. Tears and flames. Here in my heartwood
I’m still burning like the candelabra of a rootless tree
that fell in love with an ice-storm once that turned the tears
that fell like rain from the eyes of my crystal skull
into a chandelier of stars and fireflies waltzing like a dragon
in the moonlight with you, at the full, ever since.

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, July 4, 2013

Poem Edited: Tuesday, July 23, 2013

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