Patrick White (September l5, l948 / Campbell River, British Columbia, Canada)
One Earth, One Third Eye, One Wild Iris Of Life In Space
One earth, one third eye, one wild iris of life in space.
Nacreously pearled out of the darkness of death,
No, not even death, but the godhead of nothing,
This our crib, our grave, when our flesh falls like snow
From our leafless limbs in the spring and dissolves
Back into the womb we’ve never been out of.
Who fouls their own mother like the place where they live?
Who would climb up their umbilical cord to heaven
Like a waterlily anchored in a swamp and sever the connection
Like the jugular of their mother’s throat, before, and before
Is as endless as forever after, amen, she’s brought them to term
Under a blue eyelid smeared by a patina of air as thin
As the mirage of the dream she conceived them in?
Five billion times around the sun, that star
We’re all courtiers in the presence of, five billion times
Hung like the earring of a shepherd moon in an orbit
Through your earlobe and we’ve managed to turn it
Into a game of Russian roulette with the microbial dawn
Of our own existence when she conceived of us
Like a water palace of life out of her own translucency,
The firefly of an inspired thought that crossed her mind
And nudged us into being, this sentient seeing we smear
With the effluvia of our own offal then turn away in revulsion
From what we see in the mirror that repels us from us,
From each other, trying to get away from the loss of face
We made ourselves in the image of. This military-industrial,
Late Bronze Age megalith of warring heroes who
Distorted our vision of love by fletching it with arrows
We’re as vulnerable to as an Achilles heel.
It’s time, ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to upgrade
Our metaphors to more peaceful myths of origin
We create among ourselves so every thought and act
Every ocean of emotion that neaps and ebbs in our tidal hearts
Is in accord with the facts of who we imagine ourselves to be.
Time to swim out of the hourglass we drown our sorrows in
Down to the last drop, and learn to live galactically
Or what was the point of getting high in the first place?
Nature doesn’t abhor a vacuum as much as she must us by now.
Let’s clean our act up so our lover doesn’t turn away from us
Toward another that doesn’t offend the protocols
Of her incomparable beauty and inconceivable intelligence.
Hey, you, who put the longing in the nightbird’s song?
Who put the awe in your heart when you’re kissed by stars?
Who humanized you out of the ore and oxygen of meteors
Stone by stone on the grave of an Archaic native
With a bird bone flute that still wasn’t enough weight
To keep the music of life from arising out of death
Like a poem out of the mouths of deaf-mutes that spoke
For trillions of stars through their eyes? When
You look at a river can’t you feel the melody line
Of your own blood and mind behind the picture-music?
One earth, one third eye, one wild iris of life in space,
Iron, stone, water, air, ion and this the frailest
Sphere of mind, this aura of awareness,
These neurons and dendritic axons of our cities at night
We all resonate in like the wavelengths of fish
Jumping for the stars, fireflies over the water,
This sentience of ours, this exalted mode of dirt
We’ve been raised out of by this earth breaking
Into consciousness, a young planet waking from a dream
She had of us to find we’re all as true as she is
To the same roots she’s welling up out of like apple bloom,
Like the spine-stems of ladders to the moon,
Like the interdependent origins of insight and stone,
All one body, born of the same cells, to shine, do you hear me,
Back at the stars, the trees, the sky, rivers, clouds,
Thermophilic bacteria in hot diamond mines,
Fire like the mad passion of a genius swept up
Like a poppy immolated in the blooming of its own flames,
As if we were opening our eyes to look upon our mother’s face
Like the very first dawn, and we had only one smile
Like the fertile crescent of a waxing moon to spend
On recognizing everything and everyone alive and dead
As we are to the whole, every grain to the harvest
In the full siloes of our dark abundance, the source
That hides us out in the open from ourselves like stars
So we never have very far to look for the efflorescent fountainhead
Of our evanescence, or the foundation stones under our feet
Or what keeps us afloat like the lifeboat of a hand
When nothing else reaches out to us but the earth itself.
Learning wisdom is learning space. One mile east
Is one mile west, my teacher said. Quantumly entangled thus,
We linger in the doorway of this available dimension
Of the future in our house of life, like a palatial room
We’ve never entered before and the crucial hour come round
Like a waterclock breaking from the womb, will
Someone die in there, and we mourn our own demise,
Or will someone be born of the metaphors we spread
Like the seeds of wildflowers in the starfields
On the wind that issues like the breath of life and death
Out of our own mouths and hearts and minds
As one of the most inspired ways yet the light turns around
Removing the veils of endless night from its face
To look at itself, one earth, one third eye, one wild iris of life in space.
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