Silence, The Fifth Born Dimension Of The World - Poem by Patrick White
Silence, the fifth born dimension of the world,
solitude, the sixth, miasmic picture music arises
like the fragrance of a dream resonating in the night air,
out of nowhere, the ghost of a waterlily you once loved
like an earthbound angel with the soul
of a Pleiadeian sapphire embedded in starmud.
When was that? O, yes, I remember now that autumn
when the shadows of the leaves fell down the wall
and more amazing than perishing was the fact we weren’t
for the moment, at least, and moments passed
like eras back then, when love seemed to show time
how to take the focus off itself for a change
and kick back like the missing link in a chain
of dynastic waterclocks in an inevitable succession
of flashfloods and dry creek beds that ended up casting
the long shadows of hapless mirages that evaporated
like a lunar atmosphere disappearing with its waterbirds.
When has it ever not been so? Even the future memories
of the prophets can’t recall approaching a crossroads
where time hasn’t intersected the timeless
like the celestial equator intersects the ecliptic
at the vernal equinox as spring comes like a shock
to the heart that starts thriving its way toward death again.
What could it mean to the journey that the beginning
has an end that can’t be differentiated one from the other?
Or the living have a tendency to forget
they’re as often descended from ghosts as smoke is
from fire, as they are the collateral fruits of pre-natal desire.
You can enlist a whole choir of candles to weep for you
if you wish, you can wait for it to dawn on the black pearl
of a new moon that you’re an eclipse that should be taken
seriously, but love puts the darkness to better use
and that tiny little flame like a single-petalled flowering perennial
keeps on dancing at the end of the burnt-out wick
of your spinal cord as your sorrows harden like wax
into sacred pools that only fire’s magus enough to clarify.
Let the light excite the ice on your mindstream to start flowing again
as it dances to the picture music of who you’re becoming
when you look through windows of rain that aren’t gift-wrapped
in the funereal bunting of amber glaciers mourning in your wake
for who you should have been, or might have been,
or might be yet, by some fatal stroke of luck,
that uproots your shining from the starfields
and transplants it into a secret garden to bloom
in someone else’s paradise with less incentive than your own
to seek knowledge even as far as China and end up
returning from North America with Aztec starmaps.
If you’re lost, look upon it as a course correction.
If you think you know where you’re going check
the integrity of your astrolabes, get out your plumb lines
and compare the shallow draught of your moonboat
with the mountainous reefs in the depths of your watersheds
and holler gung ho back to your nervous captain pacing the deck
wondering if he should mutiny or maintain command of a shipwreck.
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