Patrick White

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

O, Yes, The Stillness Comes All In One Wave, One Caress - Poem by Patrick White

O, yes, the stillness comes all in one wave, one caress,
like a tide, the salve of a cool kiss of the moon
on the scorched eyelid of a black rose that burned
like a reincarnation of fire, the dark enlightenment
the stars reach for beyond the eyes at the end
of their fingertips. The unattainability that lovers
demand of the night when they blow the candles out.

A warm gust of peace on the nape of my neck
at the base of my skull, the brain stem of the daffodil
not uprooted from the bulb of its head
by the sudden moonset of a guillotine with blood on it,
but washed in a warm rain that makes it glow
like a tungsten streetlamp in the aura of a ripe apricot
in a real garden it never expected to wake up in.

There's grace in the silence of the garrulous seance.
The ore of my labours have brought forth
a nugget of gold of inestimable age and value
among the asteroids I've been mining with my third eye,
strange translucencies that tremble like fluid jewels
when the nightwind is playing the lake like a harpsichord
and the fireflies are trying to read their starmaps like sheet music.

As if the sadness and the fear, the evolution of indifference,
the intermittent sobbing in the muffled asylum,
the terror of a child's first night in hospital,
or a long term prisoner's first night out alone on the street,
were absolved of their emotions like turbulent rivers
easing into a halcyon sea that whispers with uncanny assurance
it'll be okay, it'll be okay, just a bad dream that kept you awake.

Almost a voice I recognize that's been
following my echo for light years like one attentive star
I've caught sight of now and again on long night walks
where the eyes of wary animals glint in the dark
like a nocturnal substitute for flowers along the roadside.

One among many who shine more brilliantly but are
merely clever compared to this sibyl of compassion that turns
their furious flames down low on the night wards of the heart
and gentles the wind that plays too hard on the broad-leaved
basswood guitars of the trees troubled by the lyrics
of the cosmic dissonance that can't hear what the music's
been saying before the beginning of the universe
about suffering, about love, about the soul of matter
that's been raising the dead out of the ashes
of the urns of light like lanterns full of fireflies and stars
for 13.7 billion years now as the crow flies,
prophetic skulls aroused by the longing of the nightbirds
to add more beauty to the truth of their words,
to sing in the quantum notes of an eleven piece string theory
like a band on the corner of anywhere and the universe
banging on membranes like a pulse in the name
of a good cause, bubbles nucleating the wavelengths
of their original rapture to expand a little riff of intimate bliss
into a universal joy as pervasive as the time and space
life's jamming in like an electric violin with a blues harp,
like an emission spectrum in the starcluster of the Pleiades,
like a moment of peace blooming along the shores
of a winter mindstream like a galactic waterlily
of oceanic awareness blooming in a crystal skull
like life in the Saturnine waters of Enceladus
inconceivably thriving in a greenhouse of habitable ice.


Comments about O, Yes, The Stillness Comes All In One Wave, One Caress by Patrick White

  • (1/19/2013 12:59:00 PM)


    To put it simply: I was wonder-struck by this poem. (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, January 19, 2013

Poem Edited: Monday, January 21, 2013


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