Patrick White

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

Someone Took The Grey Day Like A Dirty Rag - Poem by Patrick White

Someone took the grey day like a dirty rag
and wrung all the sunshine out of it.
Ten thousand poems bloom like flowers,
beam a little light back to the stars
and go back to seed before I've put
a word to the page. Infinite worlds,
infinite possibilities and all of them
inter-reflectively true. All the cosmic eggs
hatch out like a choir in a nesting church.
Pick a nightbird and give it your voice.

See if you can sing the frequencies of the stars.
The mystery doesn't exist until
you start exploring it. Not to prove
how wonderful you are. Take my word for it
we're all uniquely magnificent each
in our unexploited way. Liars err
on the charming side of the truth.
If you ever had an emotion as big as that
you wouldn't be able to lift it.

Just because you sit down at your desk
like a sacred clown with a bag of bruised balloons
doesn't mean your feelings are
universally inflatable. Tell a big enough truth
often enough, and everyone will deny it.
Look. They're laying salt and sand
down on the icy roads like a Kuiper belt
of asteroids. Whatever you can't
relate to here you befriend in other worlds.
Long before Heisenberg, lovers discovered
the truth of uncertainty principles,
spooky action at a distance. Quantum entanglement.
Cookie-cutters of black matter
shaping templates of dough sprinkled
with galaxies for the abyss next door.

I'm plotting a starmap of my neurons
and everyone of the poems I write
is a myth of origin in someone's eyes.
The wind doesn't fuss over the seeds it sows.
I've seen wild columbine like a tender carillon
of fragile bells suggested by the rain
growing out of the skulls of Cambrian rocks.
Even the lifers at Millhaven have poetry in them.
Deepen the darkness of your own nightfall
if you want to see the same stars they do.

You want to radiate like the stargates of Orion,
shine with the brilliance of Sirius in solitude,
show up like a bad penny in an abyss
of the first magnitude and see if the moon
comes up heads or tails, bearing in mind
the donkey at the end is in the lead
when the electron reverses its spin
without an intervening medium or even
a reasonable alibi. -290 on the dark side
of Mercury that close to the sun, what's
the point of deciphering the scars of crescent moons
on icy membranes laid out like rinks in hyperspace
when you could be out there with the rest of the quarks
figure-skating for yourself like the language of poets
who don't know what they're dying for,
but let the heart make a generous guess.

Here's one. Elaborate as sophisticated a universe
as you want out of your own simplicity
and where it stops is your seabed for the night
and write of all the myriad forms of life
that thrive in your dreams, agonistically
dependent upon one another and exhilarated
by the rush of a creative avalanche see
if you can make the same indelible impression
with sacred syllables of your own upon life
as the Burgess Shale without your name on the cover.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, January 15, 2013

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