Poems Without Frontiers

Poems in Translation

David Paley






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Clouds

Clouds is a fanciful depiction of clouds racing over the sky written in eleven stanzas and irregularly rhymed.

Warships rush into battle but the approach of calmer skies brings peace talks followed by the resumption of commerce and the cessation of hostilities.

The poem concludes with the admission that clouds are merely the embodiment of imaginaton and a stimulus to thought.






Enid

Any poem entitled Enid must immediately be recognizable as a tribute to one of our most prolific children's authors. This one was conceived after visiting the house where she lived in the 1930s and 1940s and where she created numerous works for children.

The poem consists of five stanzas each of eight lines rhymed FH.

I have adopted the spirit of her writing by incorporating the names of two of her houses and her then location in addition to several references to her works; but I leave the reader to discover them as well as, in the tradition of her stories, the hidden mystery.






Evening

An evocation of the peace of evening descending on a pastoral scene. Bells chime from a distant tower, air breathes softly over fields; and waters flow silently as twilight gathers to foretell contentment until the morning.

Format: Seven stanzas of eight lines rhymed BH or FH; or nine lines rhymed GI or EI






Gold

A tale of the love of gold by a man living alone whose only delight is to count his coins in the belief that they are his greatest joy and security. He is mistakenly unaware that his wealth is known to his neighbour whom he despises for his poverty. The neighbour, however, harbours another kind of wealth within the bosom of his family and in the countryside around. The poem ends with a morality tale of the pursuit of gold.

Format is nine heavily rhymed stanzas the last of which is the morality tale in rhymed couplets.






Moon

Moon is the poet's obligatory address to the royalty of night where I address the moon as a king rather than as a queen as it is normally considered probably having been aided by its gender in the French language (but the gender is masculine in the German language). It consists of seven stanzas each of eight lines of two quatrains rhymed AD (mostly) and EH.

It describes the passage of the moon across the heavens and the benevolence of its beams upon the earth beneath. The moon is represented as a former king who has lost his might but nonetheless retains his train as represented by the tide and leaves the darkness in order to consult even less fortunate companions during the day and to gain new strength for the following night.






Reaching the Harbour

Reaching the Harbour consists of nine stanzas each of six lines and is not rhymed.

The poem tells of a sailing boat approaching the harbour at night through difficult seas. It relies on rhythm to convey the action wherein the boat is driving across wild seas but is able to make the harbour and rest in safety at the quay.

But there may an alternative interpretation.






Revolution Dawn

Revolution Dawn consists of five stanzas, the first two being of ten lines, rhymed EJ, followed by three stanzas each of nine lines, rhymed EI. The poem recounts the dawn as a revolution overturning the existing regime. The town is safely sleeping whilst revolutionaries gather in the eastern mountains where their flickering torches gradually overcome the blackness of the past. As the darkness fades, sympathisers reach the town causing the old regime to flee headlong. Unstoppable riot bursts with ease over the horizon and stands proudly forth to announce the bright new day.






Roundabouts

A comment on the righteous indignation of a victor who adopts the hostile attitudes of the vanquished in his subsequent conduct with which the former oppressed subjects now readily comply. Questioning of the new politics is deprecated, however slight it may be.

Format is three stanzas of fourteen lines and is only sparsely rhymed.






Stream

Stream is a poem not so much of lost love but rather of self-mockery at its loss and the protagonist's former foolishness. It consists of eight stanzas of eight lines each rhymed DE.

The rejected lover loads all his thoughts onto a craft, as flimsy as is now his former love, in a determined effort to rid himself of his delusions. He imagines their journey on the stream through fields and groves, past rocks and finally tumbling into the sea that expiates all former folly. He ends by philosophising that the stream, that has carried away the remnants of this episode, continues to flow and that the waters, as they become continuously replenished, will thereby be able to bring to his life a new experience more hopeful than the last.






The Artiste

The Artiste consists of four 'Petrarchan' sonnets each rhymed MN followed by two concluding postludes each of six lines irregularly rhymed.

It is a homage to the creator of words and the wonderment of the protagonist at their source. Because one is conjuring words from nowhere or from some inchoate source, the task is seemingly impossible. Where do they come from; are they derived through nurture or from searching; and how is the presence of a source divined?

The answer is in the postlude: simply determination to resolve the difficulty.






The Final Port of Call

By means of a sailing metaphor, The Final Port of Call displays our response to the challenges of life. Our ambitious attempts to earn our living and a place in society which, when attained, gives respect, prosperity and influence have, regardless of our achievements, no guarantee of continued success when faced by the ravages of life and the inevitability of its cessation. We finally succumb to the power of nature that proves more powerful than any challenge faced, so far, and ends with loss of control beyond the final port, the grave.

Format consists of seven stanzas of nine lines and a final stanza of ten lines all irregularly rhymed.






The Sinking Sun

The Sinking Sun consists of five stanzas each of nine lines rhymed EI.

The poem portrays the sun as a bombastic ruler finally defeated by the night. It descends from dominance of the heavens to disappear forever, one knows not where. It is succeeded by the minor figures, previously invisible within its glare, who now welcome the gentler governance of the widowed moon. Sun has blazed too hard and, therefore, has consumed its strength and been deposed. Day departs to be succeeded, perhaps, by a more enlightened ruler.






The View From My Kitchen Window

The View From My Kitchen Window consists of ten stanzas mostly of eight lines being two quatrains with a few irregularly placed rhymes.

It is, indeed, a poem about my garden, which is quite unexceptional apart from its reasonably well tended lawn and labour saving, but attractive, shrubs. The poem contains no drama except the passing of the seasons with their colours, blossoms and birds. I, nonetheless, express regret at the changes steadily wrought by nature closing in on the view.

The poem expresses my preference for light rather than dark and for the conquest of spring over winter, which I personify in the closing verses. At time of writing, this scenario has been a source of satisfaction to me for almost thirty years.






To Music

A tribute to music from martial through pastoral to romantic and devotional concluding with thanks to its composers and a plea that it should not cease.

Format is three stanzas of twelve lines rhymed JL, one of six lines rhymed DF and one of seven lines vaguely rhymed.