Patrick White

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

Spiders In Bubbles Plumbing The Depths - Poem by Patrick White

Spiders in bubbles plumbing the depths
of a new medium. Looking up from the bottom
the stars aren't stars, they're water-striders.
And me? I'm walking on the surface of my mind
like a very light-footed telescope. An antelope
who's just woken up from a dream
of a touring ballet company run by lions.
I'm sitting on a skull of rock close to the river
like some bare-footed prophecy
eating locusts and honey in the wilderness
that doesn't know whether to make heads or tails of me.

Anxieties of surviving the way I am mingle
with lyrics of longing to change
like the metamorphic passage of the river
flowing by me like the not so Milky Way
of my mindstream trying to clarify itself
in the course of its own running. But it's
as hard to part the waters with the wind
as it is with a sword, and I'm not looking
for any anomaly of nature to lead me to the Promised Land.

And I've been to PsychoBabylon and back.
And I had no eyes, I was blind, and I had to
follow my own Orphic skull up out of hell
like a song someone was whistling in the dark.
You live too long with ghosts, you start
asserting your wilfulness for all of them
and pretty soon the seance turns into an exorcism.
The fire that burned of its own accord,
stops crying like a candle and begins scrying
which way it's going on any one of these Roads of Smoke.

I'm a pilgrimage of one to a shrine I've never heard of
who would like to walk part way with you,
heart to heart until you couldn't tell
the new moon apart from the full
and like the snaking of this river
around these islands of birch groves
falling like pencils the beavers have chewed through
down to their stubs, we realize inseparably
it was always the right door to enter by, the entrance,
not this inseparable exit that keeps
stuffing the mouth of the oracle
like the three bells and all's well of a seashell
with oceanic starmaps as to where
we've buried the lost treasures of our hearts and minds
that we've been looking for as if they weren't
hiding out in the open where they've always been.

The hidden harmony of deep love is the dark bond
that ensures there can be no discontinuity
anywhere in the bubble-blowing multiverse
whether there are spiders on the moon in diving bells
that look like Schiaparelli's canali on Mars,
or the peculiar scars on a third eye with a detached retina,
or a neuronic crossroads in the roots of a nervous system
waiting for the wind to show up whirling like a Sufi
to tell it which way to go to transcend its spiritual vertigo
like a computer message from earth to a space rover
exploring the possibility of finding love and life
like mirages gathered around the house wells of a deserted planet
witnessing the return journey of life like a prodigal
to the first threshold it ever crossed over with a smile into exile.

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Poem Submitted: Friday, August 24, 2012

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