Patrick White

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

Over And Over And Over Again - Poem by Patrick White

Over and over and over again
you return to me each time
made more beautiful by the pain
I embrace you with
like the aura of fireflies
in the afterlife of the lightning
that was struck by you.
Over and over and over again
I have watched the birds leave in the fall
and come back in the spring
and whether they were coming or going
especially at midnight when you couldn't see them
high overhead like the souls of the dead
I've always heard the same longing in their call
for something I've never been able to wholly comprehend
except as the way I miss you
on this journey without end
where the destination isn't always
the friend of the road
as the stars foretold it would be.

And I don't know why
I always associate pain with lucidity
like the price of shattered glass
when you hurl the moon through it
from the inside
to let the light in through the damage
and you back into my life again
like the radiant sorrow of a lonely tomorrow
that today already lives in vain
like a weathervane
trying to give the wind a direction
it's never taken before.

Over and over and over again
I have looked for your hidden mystery
in the history of gone
for some living intimacy that lives on
but I've run out of doors and gates and windows
flowers and skies I can leave open
hoping you might find your way back in somehow
from those spaces greater than skin that fit you now
like the dress you were buried in.

The random singularity of death's one demand
might shake the tree
into the soft hooves of the highest fruit
that gallop off like wild horses
spooked by their own windfall into the silence
but over and over and over again
I turn the fact that you once existed
like a jewel I once knew from the inside
into an act of insight
that over and over and over again
rocks me like the aftershock of an earthquake
as if your death weren't once but many
and I would live my way through them all
listening to the geese depart at night in the fall
wondering which one embodied your soul
like a star-bound angel in earthly feathers
and whether you noticed me as you left

over and over and over again
standing in the light by the window
a tiny dark figure down below
listening for you in the darkness
like a vase of full of ashes
wishing it had wings.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, April 17, 2012

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