Poems Without Frontiers

Poems in Translation

David Paley

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Lives of No Importance
David William Paley

The fleeting years of youth
Have fled across horizons
Like disappearing coasts
Seen from ocean liners.
Once, as vivid as the day,
They, now, are sunk from sight
As new dawns rise in triumph
Upon another's joyful life.

Our sparkling fountain waters
That glistened in the sun
Have splashed their silver rain
From skies of sapphire blue
To bubble in a merry dance
Along the happy stream
That soon became a flood
Surging on to Avalon.

Shall we leave delights for lives to come
In a record of what they were
For a gentler age to marvel;
Or consume them as we tread this paradise
And bury them in silence
To remove them from the world
For the future not to know them
And be content in ignorance of the past?

We lit no fires of false display
As we drifted with the flow
But were content with clustered stars
That burst within the heavens
To shine upon the charm beneath
Reflected in our sparkling eyes
As we exchanged our glances
That lasted through our lives.

No winter clouds have masked our joys
Or brought a thought
Wherein our peace was tarnished.
We have had our happy times
And braved what barbs were thrown
Transformed to songs of beauty
That played as softly as the music
Borne to us as windblown chimes.

When sounds of distant gunfire
Whispered softly in our ear
Or troubles in battalions
Came to deepen sorrows,
We braved the gravest trials
With a gaze of resolution
That gave determination
To tip the scales with sunshine
That shone on all tomorrows.

If we felt the darkness
In grey November days,
We have remembered
The blossoms we have seen
When the melodies we knew
Were called to sing again
And memories dispelled our sadness
Freed from any torment.

But, when the stream has flowed,
The flood has surged,
The tide has turned
And fate emerged,
Our age will have its compensations
In the wisdom we acquire
With which we now empower
Those, who live in smoking towns
Or, alone, remote in castle tower,
Who may, also, to our state aspire:

"The rain will fall where it is bidden
But is lost within the hour;
The louring heights descend
But lift again with sun.
Winds may wave across the fields
And penetrate the wooded depths
Where the wary deer stands hidden,
Silent in the depths of shadow;
But the blast will end and storms abate
And calm descend upon the meadow".