Patrick White

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

A Fluctuation In The Cosmic Void


A fluctuation in the cosmic void,
a wink of atoms,
a fallen eyelash of light,
the seeing of a lifetime
nothing but candle vapour,
ghost-water on the moon,
the exhalation of a vagrant star
looking for its lost constellation
like a berry or a gem
that had wandered off road
from the vine of a crown.
The eye that regards all
as it rises like a blue mystic sun
over the morning eyelids
of the remote hills
waking up in the arms of their shadows
demands exposure of the sky,
a clarity pure enough for stars
as it turns the day over
like the palm of a hand
to reveal how our lifestreams
join and break
at the junction of sacred rivers.
And the vision,
the illusion of the way I see life,
the romantic intoning
into the bell of the abyss
for a hopeless beauty that died like a bird,
the lostness and the loneliness,
the unknown sorrow
that seems to bleed out of the air
like a black rose born to grieve
for the separations of long ago,
and the child in the brutal fire
that pleads at a window
weeping in the heat
for rescue from an afterlife without salvation,
all that the heart features
in the deepest silence of the night,
nothing but the auroral trash
of an over ionized mind
trying to touch its own burns tenderly.
Until I became the knowing
even my own ignorance
didn't recognize me.
Until I vastly improved
the integrity of my lies,
every mirror I looked into
like a woman's eyes
was corrupt,
the prelude to a death certificate
in lipstick, a thorn of honey
that dripped like the fangs of the moon
with mysterious toxins and elixirs
that could scald and bleach the heart
or restore it with the kiss of a silver herb
grown in the garden of a cool eclipse.
My bitterness and fear
have made me less susceptible
to the empty boats that arrive
to take me on like some kind of foreign export,
a cargo of ashes and stars,
the bodybags
of the casualties and refugees
that perished in an unknown holy war of one
that I can't stop waging
against a universe that won't let me in,
but my solitude
could defeat me with a feather,
could shock the fool I am to hide
with the shadow of a wing
breaking the spell of this birdless sky
that seems to go on forever beyond the wind
like a caravan of rain
that's outwalked the longest known road
into a wilderness
of rootless trees in big city back alleys.
When the rose
has been stripped down to its claws and horns,
how few have the eyes
to keep yearning?
Let me drown in tears of fire,
in wells of thoughtful quicksand,
rack me on the iron in my blood
and stub my cherished stars out
like angry pincers applied to my feet
like a firewalk through a snakepit
and I will confess to nothing
but an earnest ignorance,
I will not betray the abyss
where I buried myself like nuclear waste.
I will remain true
to the merciless emptiness
I uttered to myself like a vow
I didn't know if I could keep
four decades ago.
Now I lay my head down to dream
on a stone pillow full of stars
that shine like rare metals in the night,
and when I wake
I seem to know less
about everything it took me a lifetime to master
than when I first
abandoned my eyes
like oceans on the moon to see
inconceivably, what has become of me in my absence.

Submitted: Friday, February 10, 2012
Edited: Friday, February 10, 2012

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