Patrick White (September l5, l948 / Campbell River, British Columbia, Canada)
Midnight Water-gardens Of The Rain
Midnight water-gardens of the rain.
Train-whistle and a singer’s voice.
The darkness seems more musical
and sadder than it was as it falls to earth
like the orbits of earrings and bracelets
when a woman takes off her jewellery
like the windfall of stars from a chandelier
in the mirror of who she appears to be.
Sorrows ripen in the cellars of the heart
like wine waking up from a long dream,
and the ashes of summers that didn’t last
scattered on the wind like mourning doves
from the urns and furnaces of the mind.
The dark silence weeps before the beauty and the love
in the heartwood of yesterday because
of all I’ve been witness to, it never fails
to bring a smile to my face like the tree rings
of the rain or the feel of starmud between my toes
when I take my shoes off out of respect
for the house of life I’m always entering
like a ruined temple that’s been visited by God
in the female form of a life-fulfilling wound.
I resonate on the same frequency as the tuning fork
of the lightning tines of a snake’s tongue
tasting the air to know it’s sweet
with the occult wisdom of a sacred sibilant
caught like the shadow of a wavelength
in the moonlight strewing white rose petals
on a path of thorns. There’s a hidden coherence
in the evanescence of my voice that obeys the laws
of a self-imposed dream grammar that doesn’t have any.
I’m a poet looking out at the rain through a window.
I remember the harsh delights of flesh and blood
that made the purple passages of my solitude
I had learned by heart seem blessed by what
kept cursing them back into life, night after night,
reaching out to touch someone like the other coast
of the great nightsea of awareness you’re sailing
like the shadow of a sundial into the wind.
Light years away, a lifeboat on a shipwreck
that went down with the gold we plundered
like the patch of the new moon over our third eyes
at harvest time when the living was easier
than the songs that would later be written about it
as the ghosts of old bells dripped from the roof.
Enclosures of silence like those taboo sacred spots
you just wander into sometimes alone in the woods
until the dead tell you to get out as if
you were the demon they were driving out of them
like a scapegoat into the wilderness
with unknown sins on your back that bleed
like the stigmata of a black rose gored on its own thorns
or the childhood innocence of experienced bull-vaulters
torn on the horns of the moon and cast aside
like paint rags of love too close to the subject
to see the big picture from inside the allegory.
Less than generous to sour the wine with tears
of bitter vinaigrette. Let the ice sublimate
into cirrus clouds that catch the light of the sun
like silk that feels like the wind on wet skin
the seeds of the starfields we walked through together
cling to like root room in the lonely palaces
of our lunar watersheds peering out through
the eyes of the rain like an abacus of mended necklaces.
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