Patrick White

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

The Earth A Message - Poem by Patrick White

The earth a message in a blue bottle
someone threw into a desert of stars
for help,
I'm stranded on the island
of a single thought
in the galactic archipelagos
of a deconstructed myth of origin.

There is no myth.
There is no origin.
I am free to write what I want
in invisible ink
on virgin mirrors
in an indecipherable alphabet of stars
because every mouth
was first a bird of the void,
the echo of a scar
that wrote with a knife
how testing it was
to cut the throats of the yearling bells
that were slaughtered like apples.

This, too, is an eyelid of life,
a shedding of the peony,
the blue silk sheet of an atmosphere
pulled off a naked planet
that will die of exposure
in a blizzard of necrophiliac flashbulbs.

No one really wants
to be understood,
but for years I've laboured
in the shadows of profound delusions
to look upon every face
blossoming in the unkempt orchard
as the hidden eye
of a human divinity I was trying to uphold
like a pillar of cloud.
I wanted parity with angels,
I believed just to be born
was to be exalted to the ranks
of an heroic order
that had evolved out of
the embodiment of suffering,
the pain that was cast away
like the illegitimate afterbirth
of a silo full of thorns,
the swamp
that tendered a waterlily nevertheless
and a sky that wore its stars like campaigns,
and the warriors that had died
to be carried home
on the shields of their constellations.

I accorded to even the most wretched
the dignity that was due their pain
like a sword they had pulled
from the stone of their heart
or a straw from a loaf of bread
to see if it was cooked.

We were all nailed to the world
upside down,
the slow tar of a sacred agony
that was always a voice beyond
the shriek of the sayable,
the long scream of the silence
drunk on the silicon wines of glass grapes,
slumped like thunderclouds and junkmail
across the hills and thresholds
of our own unattainable event horizons.

I drank from the reflection
of my own humanity on the nightstream
and compassion came with insight
like the shadow of water in a dream,
a rag of blood
torn on the horn of the moon,
that we were all nothing more
than the brevity of a warm breath,
a fragrance of the void
it pulled from its sleeve like a guest bouquet.

And you can quote
your tables and chairs at me all you want,
but the soul of a human is a match
invited like a minor relative
to the death of stars,
that throws itself down on the coffin lid
in its moment of flaring
like the last memory
of a homeless flower,

and the gesture is enough
to fill the urns with light,
the wombs with embryonic wicks
already drunk on a night that shines
like the small house of a firely
in a blind abyss.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, April 9, 2012

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