THE SNOW A SILENCE WHITER THAN LAST NIGHT
The snow a silence whiter than last night
and the sky, a red violet. A mysterious rose.
As if the night were blushing at something said
that wasn’t meant to be disclosed.
I feel cramped without the stars, embedded
like a hibernating frog in my own starmud,
my bloodstream reconfigured as the thin thread
of a red alcoholic thermometer, though I don’t drink.
Nocturnal solitaries huddle their way through the night
like dark comets past the unwary mirrors
of the nightwatchmen working on their novels
as if nobody were watching. I people the abyss
with my life and let my mindstream decide
where it wants to wander through its own timelessness
as if the past, as well as any future I could imagine
could take the lead at anytime from compliance
with the present, and it wouldn’t make
the least bit of difference. Three waves
of the same oceanic awareness. Three talons
open like the triune esoteric crescents of the moon
and one hawk blooms like a poppy in the snow.
My imagination isn’t a cry I follow
deeper into the woods of a hidden mindscape
as if it were mapping my eyes like stars
it had never seen before and was wracking its brains
to come up with names that made it feel less homesick.
It is me. Like a nightbird is the child of the wind.
Like a song whose dark secret is a longing to live.
Like the heart of a stranger is the hearth of his homelessness.
I am the evanescent foundation stone of my own fire.
Like the moon, a lantern in the arms of my own journey.
I gather the fruit of a rootless tree and it tastes
like the voice of the sun and the moon waxing lyrical
as the water and light of the alpha and omega
of sacred syllables, with the third extreme
of the earth in between shining in the middle intensity
of the three wise men in Orion’s belt
just before the dawn pales the seeing-eye dog
of blind Osiris blazing like an underground root fire
set below the treeline of cedars ageing on the hills to the west.
I remember the lovers I carried both ways
across the thresholds of a burning house,
and what I’ve made of my sorrows are wildflowers
that bloom for a night in a garden that tends to itself.
If my children are lost to me as they are,
I don’t ask my imagination to explain why anymore.
I let it drink its fill of compassion from my heart
like a bottomless well deeper than the stars are high
and I leave my door ajar for the dead who still call me friend
to come in, whatever the hour, as often as I open it
to the apparitions of the living I greet like dream figures
who have just stepped into my intuitive vision
of not needing to wake them up until I do because
as I keep repeating like the riff of a mantra on a blue guitar,
mark one jewel like the third eye of Venus in the dawn
and they’re all marked with the same morning star.
I invite the darkness to enfold me within the pages
of its imageless book like the godhead of the great void
revealing a story that keeps growing in the telling of it
as the mindstream changes the tempo of its narrative theme
from a pulse, to the merest fragrance of a melody
expiring like the last breath on the deathbed of bird-bone flute.
I am all skulls. I am all shepherd moons. I am space
that exculpates gravity to bend and relent at a black mass.
I refuse to imprison my enlightenment in a church
and get by with finding my way by a candle
that casts as many shadows as it illuminates.
I put my hands up over my eyes like the wingspan
of an eclipse over a full moon, instead of folding them
like birds roosting in a dark wood, praying for light,
and the stars that fire the eyes of the Queen of Heaven
grow brighter than I’ve ever seen them before.