Patrick White

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

No Ray Of The Star - Poem by Patrick White

No ray of the star in the lead,
none following, no one vector of light,
the compass needle for all the rest.
Eye to eye, side by side,
like the spikes of an onion gone to seed,
companionship and parity,
even after billions of light years,
every one's still shining among their peers.

Even your best efforts
to make it all into one when it already is,
are in musical harmony
like dissonance in jazz
with every wavelength of heart and mind
in a great creative collaboration
with every thread on the loom of a flying carpet
as big as the universe, growing
into the vast expanse of the chaos
it's spinning itself out of like the three fates,
the daughters of night with their thread and shears
severing the lifelines of passion birth and death.

Let them. Because there's a little green thread of love
coiling around your spinal column like serpent fire
that can't be cut by scissors or tears,
a dragon of dna with rainbow chromosomes
riding the stairwells and thermals of its own flames
like a wild grape vine, or trout lilies
down by the night creek
holding up their blossoms
like masterpieces to the stars
apprenticed to their shining
like one genius to another
revealing what can be done with light
when everyone's working in the same medium.

Every star, a kiss on the eyelids
of a wildflower in a far field
that's gone back to seed for a while,
every rose and mushroom alike.

Every ray of light, a mystic spear
through the heart of a disbelieving telescope
that's just had a major revelation
not only about the true nature
of the radiance within
but the ore of the darkness
that includes it like a diamond close to its heart.

Every lucid needle in the haystack,
in the pin cushion of every star,
laying out the pattern of a constellation
like a star map with a ray of light in its teeth,
and every angel that dances thereon,
and every angel that keeps its place under a stone
as a junkie London poet once wrote,
and every demon of a black dwarf
that gave its all and everything up
until there was nothing left but a black hole
or a massive cosmic match head that's burnt out
like the ashen bud of a heretic that bloomed in fire
like the seeds under the eyelids
of the pine-cone of a Zen pagoda,
and returned the universe to the darkness it came from
like a child it discovered wandering
too far from home without a threshold of its own,
is patching the wounds of the sacred clowns
with the whole cloth of the rags they're standing in
with roses and rainbows at midnight
and big ripe tears in a windfall of pears
that keep falling to their destiny
without realizing they're plunging toward paradise
every time they lose their grip on things.

In my unified field theory,
whether you call it fana, nirvana, tauhid,
the godhead, the plenum void, the blaze,
the rapture, dropping off body and mind
once the Japanese plum blossoms
have turned into fruit and realized
no sweetness in the apple bloom
no ripeness in the apple, God,
Brahma on his lotus, Muhammad on Buraq,
Jesus on the cross, Moses on the mountain,
or you've just had a serious falling out with your lover,
in a world so boundlessly unified
we have to resort to stars for boundary stones
like illusory barriers between too much and too little,
where the sweet water meets the salt;
in my intimately impersonal skew
of the crazy wisdom of what's happening here,
the most accurate thing
you can whisper like a poem
into your neighbour's or lover's ear,
is not two, not two, not two, like the vital pulse
of a musical cult of oxymorons
at a gathering of opposites in the wilderness,
everything clings to one another inseparably
like the primordial atom to its table of contents,
like a fish to water, a bird to air,
a star to the darkness, the heart and the mind
to every thought and emotion
of the space-time continuum it works in,
or insight into the mystery that inspires it
to go looking for more grails
than there are ailing kingdoms
to hold them up to their lips
like rain on ripe blackberries
or the full moons of magic mushrooms
because every dropp of rain's a grail in itself.

For every star, an imaginary number
of lifemasks like metaphors
as many as there are flowers
and children of the earth to wear them
as if dressing up for life were the embodiment
of how awareness made its first appearance
like a hidden secret that wished to be known
through an infinite number
of ongoing myriad things all at once forever.

Ergo: we're all in the same lifeboat together
looking for one and the same threshold
in our homelessness like rogue planets
dancing around one another as if each
were in reach of the sun of the other,
sister, brother, and lover, mother and father,
bonded by the light and life
we've all been looking for long before
we were born to shine upon one another like this
as if there were no difference
between the crests and valleys
of one wave and another,
our fullness and our emptiness
on the great night sea of the abyss
that is always as pregnant with us
as it is with the membranous wombs of the multiverse
whenever we kiss in deep hyperspace
and a whole new world gets off on us.

In this realm everyone receives one another
like a gift they weren't expecting
and are never sure they deserve,
down to the last atom of the drunk in the doorway,
the exile in the embassy yard
looking for sanctuary in his own country
by asking you to let him in
like the angel of immigrants in disguise,
like a teen age girl on the sidewalk,
crying like a star-crossed chandelier of rain
shattered like a crystal slipper at her feet
into the plinths and shards of a constellation
you can only see on the dark side of the mirror
like the secret reflection of who she is
inside the locket she hangs around her heart
like the moondog of an innocent suicide
no one would have ever guessed she had in her
like a conversation that never took place, face to face,
heart to heart, when timing was as important as content.

If you hold up a mirror to your own lifemask,
a puddle where the starmud's settled down
like the cornerstone of the moon in a tent
that's comes to flower in the backyard
of a house of the zodiac, you can see in your own face
the faces of everyone who's ever been, or is, and will be,
you will see in the single eye of a seed
how many Japanese plum blossoms had to be
scattered down the street like a Milky Way of the ancestors
you're descended from, to implant their vision
of light and love and life in you. And how
transience learned from the wind
how to let go and give it all away
like the passage of birds and the winged samara
of maples across the full moon, all the fruits
and flowers, stars and seeds of a generous autumn
shaken like the apple orchards of the Hesperides into your lap.

And to begrudge one atom
of this inexhaustible plenty to anyone
is to starve to death in your own garden
is to deny your own children bread
you didn't break with them like a harvest of light
so their darkness wouldn't hunger
for stars the rest of their lives.
Is to live in the shining
and grow possessive of shadows.
Is to break off a love affair with the waters of life.
Is to never feel your eyes ripen from
something green and bitter
into a mirage of wine in the desert
that drinks time spiced with stars
from an hourglass of a blissful delirium
where even the vipers have learned to dance in the sand
among the bones of skeletal keyboards.

Anyway, you get the point, and once
you've got the point, you've got the wavelength by the tail
and you're centered everywhere in a boundless universe
and the circle is as complete as a dropp of rain,
or the growth rings of a tree
making ripples in the heartwood of spring
to give the birds and the stars and the trees
something to sing about they weren't expecting.
That no sum of zeroes ever added up to nothing
as if something were missing from the very start
like blackholes that don't write their names
on the galaxies they make out of their emptiness.
Out of nothing, one, and in that one
that includes everybody you can see
how the zeroes got carried away by the billions
into an infinite elaboration of their radiant vision
of a universe of overlapping circles making waves
and all it takes is one insight
into the creativity of compassion
that steals the breath of the stars away in amazement
that one ray of light from the least expected quarter
when you least expect it is more than enough
to touch your heart with a feather of love
fallen from a passing nightbird above
that has been calling to you all night in the darkness
to see how enlightened everything is as it is
when you open up the black holes
in the wild irises of your eyes to it.


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Poem Submitted: Saturday, April 21, 2012



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