Patrick White

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

The Dust On The Window No Less Part - Poem by Patrick White

The dust on the window no less part of the magnificence
of our awareness than the stars that will come
later tonight. Look past the obvious radiance
even if it means you go into eclipse for awhile
and two full moons weigh heavily on your eyes,
and the clouds press down oppressively like a pillow
over your face. When you wake up you'll be amazed
by how extraordinary and strange the ordinary is
in everything. Wake up like a firefly if you're
world weary of being a galaxy. Reverse your spin.

Get entangled in an affair with your quantum self
without worrying whether it's a delusion or not.
I'm thinking about the kind of knowledge
that puts the petals back on the rose instead of
severing its eyelids to see what it was dreaming underneath.
Are there not as many thresholds ahead of us
as there are rungs behind? The whole
is not the context of the part anymore
than a wave of emotion, breaking on shore or not
is any less oceanic than the vastness of the heart.

The secrets aren't hiding under the stones
of shepherd moons like life under the carapace
of a turtle on its way to war quixotically.
One beginning runs toward another as if
it were the end of things. The waterclock
never comes to a full stop like a fossil of water.
Time doesn't go extinct just because you lose sight
of what hour it is. Take the patina off the eyes
of your peacocks, and you'll see things
as they are clear enough. Bored with your life
change your amniotic fluids once and a while
and look at the world as if you were born of methane.
Teach your houseflies to roar like dragons,
like singularities in a black hole creatively deploying
its emptiness like a plenum-void to teach
the sea stars how to bloom like galaxies in fire.

Is beauty the same in an old mirror as it is
in a young? You can spend the rest of your life
trying to reknow what you knew but that's
a ghost's way of going about living,
a candelabra of smoke and mirrors
held up to the sky like a leafless tree
looking for the lost constellations of last spring.

More dark matter in the voice of the watershed
than there are rivers in the trickling
of a mountain stream from the wellsprings
of the muses I once drank from but from
the first whisper of light in my eyes,
until now in this monkish scriptorium
of ashes and wax where I labour elaborately
to match kells like treble clefs to the starmaps
of the names I've given to total eclipses
like an elder among the tribes of the Ojibway
who sustains the history of his people
like smoke on a distant hillside in the autumn,
it's been the terrible solitude in the song
of the nightbird that's been the longest standing
continuity of my life, the existential music
of trying too hard not to live in vain
by approaching the creative agony of my starmud
with as much light, oxygen and rain as I am capable of.

In this anonymous darkness I am the skeletal frame,
the scaffolding of the light, the rose arbour
of galaxies that arc like blood and burning doorways,
the trellis of starclusters on the vines of wild clematis,
the unknown boughs that blossom like rafters
in the houses of life that shine like zodiacs
over the entrance to the dark passageways
of mystic black holes in the eyeless hoods
that web the veils of widowed constellations
like dangerous executioners that kill you back into life
as many compassionate times as it takes for you to realize
you don't need a starchart to plot the flightpath
of your inimitable singularity when a single wavelength
of your indelible shining is enough to fill up
the whole of the nightsky in the lantern of space
you're holding out like an empty hourglass of time
in front of you as your heart pumps new watersheds
like a housewell into the empty cup of your prophetic skull.

Bright vacancy, dark abundance, the coat of arms
on your shield, stop tilting at dragons of your own making
and even the emptiness is full of a strange longing
to reveal itself like a hidden secret that wanted to be known
like a starling in a birch grove when you're out
late at night on your own, shadowing your mindstream
like a river you been following down the mountain so long
like the Rideau canal, you've dug yourself
the longest grave in the world like a creekbed
to sustain the flashfloods of Orion rising over
the black walnut trees like the flow of life
through the radiant valleys of the astonished dead.
Like love, like the universe ageing into its renewal,
trying to catch one last fleeting glimpse of what
it once was in an eyeful of parabolic mirrors
orbiting like the hanging gardens of Babylon,
the morphology of knowledge is the shapeshifting
of your own mind as it flows from one sky into the next.

Yesterday's earthbound scales that crawled on their bellies
swallowing the eggs of the mourning doves
they were about to become, are the clairvoyant totems
of tomorrow's dragons pursuing their craving for the moon.
If you want to look into the future, look at what
you long for now. Your desire's giving birth to you
like a waterclock in the cosmic womb of a galactic fire eater.
I can hear your eyes from here calling out in distress
as they drown in the mirror like a flashback of yesterday.

O lady, you're not the black dwarf of your former shining,
the Queen of Heaven in a coven of cowled candles
conferring the last rites on a black mass.
In the stillness of what you're becoming can't you hear
the perennial beauty of the crows reciting the haikus
of inspired dinosaurs singing like poetic eclipses
in the dead of winter celebrating their lyrical extinctions
as if their eyes were burning like young diamonds
in the dark lanterns of their ancestral shrines of coal?

Comments about The Dust On The Window No Less Part by Patrick White

  • (1/17/2013 2:42:00 PM)

    this is some excellent writing. serious, brilliant, and positive. 10 out of 10. (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, January 17, 2013

Poem Edited: Friday, January 18, 2013

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