Learn More

Patrick White

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

The Green Berry Red And Rotten


The green berry red and rotten,
the fledgling flown, windfall solar systems
of sun-spotted apples in the stargrass,
the white flower corrosively spoiled
by exposure to the eyes, the stars, the bees
that once doted on it but now abuse
the masterpiece of its unassuming beauty
by using it for a dish rag soaked in vinegar
to clean the windows with. It’s time

to lay your burdens down, give them up
to the earth that shall know you by them,
rose-hip, chokecherry, blackberry or blue,
black walnut, hawthorn or sunflower seed,
whatever the taste of life in your heart,
let the bell fall from the steeple, lower
the boughs of the yoke you’re bearing
like two buckets balanced by an ox
plodding back from the well and let go, let go,
as if you’d come as far as the road goes
and from hereon would have to start
making your own through deep snow
in the moonlight the wolves that follow
will pack down with their cracked
and bleeding pads like a great seal of approval
in hot wax on a night as severe as a scalpel.

Hour of birth and ruination. Fulfilment
and failure. Full moons in the pumpkin patch,
new ones shedding the skin of the most recent
eclipse of their medicine bags like black pearls
ripening in the dark like an active sexual life
that goes on blooming all winter to counteract
the effect of snow and plaster. Hour

of an old man racking black dwarfs
like prophetic skulls on an abacus
he never learned to play like starlings
on the powerlines of musical staves
that keep the snakes dancing circumpolarly
like a hermetic caduceus with the wings
of a dove copulating with the quantumly entangled
wavelengths of dragons that will burn
your eyes out until you stop crying
over spilt diamonds and start to see
your own starmud shining in the dark
like a star that’s been shadowing you for lightyears
through the shedding trees like a spark of life
you could start a galaxy with in the eye sockets
of any one of your visionary firepits.

Hour of letting go in the midst of the abundant silence
of the inarticulate garden that’s said all
it had to say as it waits for the first frost.
Let go of whatever you’re clinging to
like an umbilical cord to the rocket gantry
of the dark mother, and follow your own
circuitous flightpath like a silo on its way to the moon
and when you get there, unpack your suitcase
like a loaf of bread big-hearted enough to feed a famine.

Hour of death in life. Dream seeds under the eyelids
perishing like moonset over the denuded hills,
the maples burning their leaves like the first draft
of a novel they don’t want anybody to read
like a closing chapter in the life of an arsonist
who ends up eating his own ashes out of bird fountain
that holds a merciful spoon up to his lips
like the French kiss of a death wish in an urn
as he dies reconciled to the heresy of his life
in the eyes of the dead who thought he went too far.

Let’s hear it for the stars that made death possible
as the improbability of life that comes of it
that makes much out of the little it has to work with
like poems inspired by the fire in their lover’s eyes.
Marigolds holding out along the widow walks
of lonely souls communing with their solitude
like a family album of sacred tattoos the leaves
left like a last impression on cement gravestones
laid end to end like a road that turns back home again
with a childhood secret it shares with the crossed hearts
of the dead sworn to the perennial silence
of the memories that make life implausibly forgiving
without understanding a word of what’s said
about why it has to be this way, except
it has to be borne like distant hills ageing
under the echoes of lupine requiems mourning
the loss of one of their own as if it were the moon’s fault.

Blame it on the autumn. Blame it on the spring
that turned out to be the false dawn of everything
you’ve ever believed in like a mirage
in the third eye of a hurricane in a desert,
or what your lover said to you in bed one night
when you shared the same pillow like flesh of your flesh,
blood of your blood, bone of your bone,
as you both spoke of a creation myth that was already old
before you were born to mourn for it
like an apostate priest of a profligate abyss
that will swallow you whole like a dragon
the glain of the moon and disgorge it again
like the waterlily of a used condom
or a skin some lake shed like a starmap
to the wistful radiance in the eyes of the dead.


O yes, the eyes of the pervasive dead who fill space
with nuances of the light distilled from past dreams,
who look upon it all in pain and separation
and crack a smile like the scar of a stronger weld
than the original brain stem it mended
like a lighthouse on the moon where you
came to drown the sword you hammered out of fire
like a vow you made to the water sylphs
a long, long time ago before the salmon returned
to the place of their birth to continue dying
deeper and deeper into their awareness
of the mystery of life still throwing cornflowers
poppies and wheatstalks in the hands
of equinoctial virgins like cargo into the lifeboats
of our graves lowered over the side of the sinking earth,
stern up to the sun as it goes down into the underworld
like the Orphic skull of a habitable planet
dismembered by the mad muses of the autumn
for the lenience in his voice the dead
are especially susceptible to this time of year.

Submitted: Wednesday, October 02, 2013
Edited: Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (The Green Berry Red And Rotten by Patrick White )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

Trending Poets

Trending Poems

  1. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  2. Alone, Edgar Allan Poe
  3. I Am the Only Being Whose Doom, Emily Jane Brontë
  4. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost
  5. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  6. A Dream Within A Dream, Edgar Allan Poe
  7. Nothing Gold Can Stay, Robert Frost
  8. A Fairy Song, William Shakespeare
  9. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
  10. Daffodils, William Wordsworth

Poem of the Day

poet Emily Jane Brontë

I am the only being whose doom
No tongue would ask no eye would mourn
I never caused a thought of gloom
A smile of joy since I was born

In secret pleasure - secret tears
...... Read complete »

   

New Poems

  1. I Envy The Rats, Kyle Schlicher
  2. Thanks for elienating me., Tiyani Shadrack Manganya
  3. Ain't Try'n Deny'n, Steve Kittell
  4. You is Me, Mapung Madura
  5. Legendary Nostradamus Prophet, lee fones
  6. Thomas' Impossible Escape, Susan Wetmore
  7. Business-like, gajanan mishra
  8. Why Poetry Is Beautiful, Leong Ming Loong
  9. Blood Bath, Suresh Dogra
  10. Her Yes, Suresh Dogra
[Hata Bildir]