Patrick White

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

The Dark Silence You Embodied - Poem by Patrick White

The dark silence you embodied, twenty years later,
speaking to me now in the quiet of the night,
Jupiter flashing in the northwest, still trying
to shine by its own light after all this time. The air
so cold and clear, it's a burning mirror
I can see you in discretely entranced
by the shapes of sadness cast by your small body
like a lamp of fire that swore never to go out
except in a blaze of light, supernova, one
last, wild, limitless, open-throttled ride
shrieking across the firmament as if at last
all that light, the wary tenderness of your compassion,
your wonder and your puzzlement at being so young
to have such heavy bells of sorrow tolling in your soul,
as if you carried within you the memory
of many rivers and seas and storms ago,

so when you shone you never dazzled
like a carillon of light on a shallow mountain rivulet,
but shine, you always did, even in your worst eclipse,
as if the romantic generosity of your expansive heart
had finally grown big enough to contain
the creative liberation of your enlightened madness.

Your intensity broke out into genius like fireflies
in a fog, the Pleiades out of the blue cocoon
of a nebular cloud. You could think
with your whole body as only a few artists
ever could. What most could only intuit at a distance
like someone weeping deep in the woods at night
as if they'd lost a child, or a lover for life,
and had come to rave in secret among the owls,
the darkness in the eyes of your blood intimately understood
without saying a word, and for a moment, you
were the shrine of a lost humanity
that used to forgive us for what we prayed for.

I can still hear the beginnings of wisdom
in the love and the laughter you squandered
on the ruinous amusements of the world,
without any fear of ever bankrupting your wine cellar
as if life were one long, surrealistic journey
of wandering scholars, defrocked Druids,
sacred clowns, lunatic poets and baffled pilgrims
each looking for exits and entrances on and off
the spiritual highway we were all hitchhiking on
as if all you had to do was cock your thumb
and the moon with one headlight blown out
would pick you up on some lonely backroad at night
and you'd see God everywhere on the way
to your mysterious destination. Dragons in exile
summoning rogue planets to orbit their homelessness
like the infinite ripples and wavelengths
of black holes standing like strangers in the rain.

Where the rivers joined we flowed into one another
as we danced like binary stars around
the invisible fires of our gravitational eyes
and where the roads parted like the wishbones
of the wounds we exchanged like the farewells
and witching wands we afflicted upon each other's hearts
as if there were something deeper, a darker whisper,
a more compelling summons than the lightning
we were divining for in each other's eyes
to strike the dark jewels of the dead we carried
within us, urns of our childhoods back into life
like an occult paradise of underground root fires
that could travel for lightyears in the valleys of death,
we were about to firewalk like barefoot stars alone,
I bowed like a gracious ice-age to thank you
for the ghost dance, and you went off
to carve the sphinx out of your tears
like rain on the fertile plains of a green savannah.

Many stars have flowed like sand through
the hourglass of the mirages we've become since then
and covered the grass and the eyes of the lakes
with lunar seas more desolate than the deserts of earth,
and though I've stopped at many wells along the way
and luxuriated in the oases of the soul alone
with the moon on water that ached like I did
to be loved by more inseparable reflections,
I've never been so far from you I needed to ask
anyone in my vagrant travels among the fixed stars
if they've ever seen your constellation rising
like a legend of love that only appears once in a lifetime
to leave an indelible impression upon the heart
like the thorns of a black rose still burning subliminally
on the star charts of the unearthly mystery
that wholly consumed us both in the radiant flashfloods
and ineffable ashes of starmud we emptied out of our urns
like two spirits of the wind swept up in the fires of life for good.

Comments about The Dark Silence You Embodied by Patrick White

  • (1/22/2013 8:04:00 AM)

    This is really brillant. Patrick White is a fine poet. (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Monday, January 21, 2013

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