Patrick White (September l5, l948 / Campbell River, British Columbia, Canada)
Poor Little Ocean That's Only Got One Wave
Poor little ocean that’s only got one wave.
Do the tides laugh at you in the bays of the moon,
do the seagulls shriek to see you’ve only
got one eyelid per eye? A mere wink of providence?
A flower closing up at night, a candle in bud
that never quite breaks into flame
like the raving silks of the poppies
it dreams about dancing on its grave?
In the penumbral shadow of time you’re
a sunami on a sundial, the fin of a mountain
on a lunar flood plain of oceanic consciousness.
The light tattoos the firmament on every
single drop of you, thousands of constellations
you’ve never even heard of, vows of love
you have yet to keep, and in
every tear of your third eye crying itself
to sleep at night, the hidden paths of zodiacs
waiting for you to firewalk them like the sun.
All in one or one in all. Downpour or
rain drop, vapour or glacier, inside
every experience resides its opposite,
so sometimes a few can be too much
and too much not enough. As myriad fish
in the sea, so the wavelengths that arrive
like prophets in the belly of the whale
from deep in space. You can view the whole
of the tapestry, every theme of the vision
in place or you can unravel it like
the flying carpet you’re meditating on
thread by thread, labyrinth within labyrinth,
like the strand of a stranger’s hair
on the shoulder of a beautiful woman
with more faces and phases of the moon
than she has veils to cover them.
My own eyes the most revealing of starmaps
I’ve ever followed into the dark, I don’t need
an astrolabe or an abacus to count the nightskies
that have sweetened the translucency of those jewels
like diamonds on the surface of the waters of life
whose flowing can’t be cut like an umbilical cord.
Being is Seeing with all your senses on nightwatch at once,
the full palette of the rainbow, the burning bridge
plunging into your mindstream like one wing
of a bird into its opposite to be reborn as a dragon
that embodies the serpent as well as the dove.
An alloy of peace and war. Dragons teeth sown
around the golden fleece with water-gilded horns.
A seventeenth century rose with medieval thorns.
Taboo as a sign of the value you put on your blessings
when you know as well as an ocean
they were meant to be shared as the only way
you could keep their munificence alive
like a new moon on the tongue of an oyster shell
that gapes open-mouthed at what a little irritation
has brought forth like a virgin after a crone.
In a crowd I’m irrevocably alone. On my own
I can hear the lyrics of the mermaids
like a seance of hormones deep within me
urging me back as if disaster had somehow
grown nostalgic for the ice-berg that sent
the Titanic to the bottom of its subconscious
like a man buried alive at sea in a iron coffin,
counting on his Zen buoyancy- -Seven times down,
eight times up. Such is life.- -to resurface
like a seal pup through an air hole on an ice floe
with the heart of a killer whale and the appetite
of a great white shark in hunting season
when it’s time to cull the humans for what they do
to the innocent like feral pigs tusking the earth
like a wound that never closes however it scars
like the moon ploughing the Fertile Crescent.
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