Full Moon Behind The Broken Femur Of A Jack Pine
Poem By Patrick White
Full moon behind the broken femur of a jack pine
shattered by the wind on the ridge of the hill,
its pagoda of boughs, nothing but a lean-to now
for deer mice, fox, rabbit, groundhogs.
Old manuscripts of rock striated and stacked
by retreating glaciers
washing their hands of themselves.
The hill has never known a messiah
and the glaciers wrote for themselves.
The mast of the moon boat wrecked,
The rectal stake of Vlad the Impaler.
The axis of the world for the auto de fe
of some future heretic
with a penchant for the tragic.
No culpability in the event.
Hawk with an injured wing,
molar, stalagmite, Cinderella
sweeping up the pieces of a broken chandelier
so she won't cut her feet on the stars.
This tree talked to God.
This tree broke like an arrow
to make a truce with the wind.
Detonations of juniper and red ground willow,
splashes of tears and blood
going off like improvised explosive devices
in a mine-field covered in snow.
This tree was caught in a war-zone.
This tree is trying to flag a fighter back on deck.
This tree sailed out and met the French at Trafalgar.
This tree is a seasoned cannoneer
without a leg to stand on.
This tree is the capital A of a sacred alphabet.
The moon rises and shrinks from apricot
to blue-white toward zenith
and somehow metaphors
run off the back of the silence here
like water off a water bird
as a fractured pine
puts its finger up to my lips
and says shhhhhhh
there's nothing that can be said
that's going to make me whole again.
It's not me that you're trying to mend.
The wind shudders
with a bleak chill it doesn't recognize
like a power surge up its spine
as a cult of bats sweep the air helter skelter
like lunar butterflies with teeth.
The brutal clarity of broken things in the wild,
beautiful beyond compare
with anyone's reflexive remedies,
a wound more sublime
than the whole and the healed
among these groves that surround the hill
like devotees at Stonehenge
pouring blood libations
over the dolmen of a Druid
talking in tree language to the full moon
about things that haven't happened yet
and the things that inconceivably have.