Poems Without Frontiers

Poems in Translation

David William Paley

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After Despair

After Despair expresses the expectation of a restful and satisfying night of sleep which, however, is quickly opposed by dark thoughts of the end of life. The protagonist considers losing the joys of life but finally drives away all thought of gloom with more positive resolution.

Format is four stanzas varying from thirteen to nineteen lines and is not rhymed.

Another Country

Another Country consists of sixteen stanzas mostly of two quatrains rhymed AC, BD but the first four are of six lines rhymed DF.

The protagonist considers how an unschooled generation can take over the skills of their forebears when little regard has been paid to acquiring the necessary experience. At their departure for another world, however, he is thrust into the necessity of abandoning the carefree youth hitherto enjoyed and exchanging it for the duties of maturity.

When the time has come for him to render his account to his forebears in that other world, he wonders whether he has left a legacy of achievement to those who, in turn, follow him.

Casting The Burden

Casting the Burden consists of four stanzas each of eight lines rhymed GH.

The protagonist has evidently suffered a bout of depression but has now regained control over him- or herself sufficient to summon the strength to dismiss the burden it has placed over him.

He notes the cycle of renewal within nature and regrets that the despair still clinging to him has not yet left. He takes command once more and, like an angry landlord, orders the burden to depart with all its baggage that has weighed so heavily upon him. Having emerged from the exhaustion of bearing the weight, he declares himself now fit to lead a happy life and concludes with a decisive dismissal of a one-time friend who has outstayed his welcome.


Contemplation consists of four stanzas each of two quatrains rhymed ACBD.

The poem reflects upon the creations, whether grand or humble, of those who have predeceased the narrator. He compares our lives to the natural cycle of growth and decline but, in contemplation of their contribution to our lives, he concedes that even our unknown predecessors deserve a moment of reflection.

Goodbye to Winter

Goodbye to Winter is a short lyrical poem written, unusually for me, in quatrains rhymed BD.

It anticipates the coming of spring after too long a time in thrall to winter's blast. The day will succeed the night, the cold will dissipate and nature will be transformed from dormancy into lasting optimism born of warmth and flowers.


A man (or woman) gazes sadly into a mirror to review his features which he regards with regret at the passing of time reflected from the glass. He is, however, consoled by the message he receives that life will still have its delights if he is receptive to its goodwill.

Format is four stanzas rhymed DG but the last rhymed AE, BF, CG and DH.

Last Appeal

Last Appeal is not rhymed. It consists of seven stanzas starting and ending as eight line verse with intermediate verses of eleven lines.

It is a heartfelt plea by a man to his beloved to reconsider her rejection of his proposal of marriage. He is distraught that neither party will have descendants and adduces several reasons for her reconsideration. She will be unaware of the passage of time until it is too late after which she will be doomed to end her days in obscurity. But she needs only to say the word and he will readily embrace her again.

Lost Treasure

A man reminisces on the intense experience of his past love that affected him to the exclusion of all else. The lovers had no wealth except that collected in their relationship; but they suddenly feared that their relationship could not last and, therefore, parted leaving emptiness all about.

He wonders whether the experience could have been as vivid as his memory depicted and feels he should be able to return to the scene and unwind his journey through time. Feeling that he can recall their words, he implores the fates to waft him to the scenes they knew in order to dispel his sadness.

Format is seven stanzas of ten, eleven or twelve lines irregularly rhymed.

My Absent Muse

My Absent Muse consists of four stanzas each of seven lines rhymed EG.

Contrary to my having lost my muse at the time I wrote it, this poem sprang almost fully formed into my head (but from where, I know not). It was written merely as a heartfelt appeal by a lover to the gods for return of his belovèd who, like Eurydice, has too soon been taken from him and left him bereft of inspiration. I hope that the style and appeal of the poem will be judged by readers to indicate that the protagonist has at least a remnant of his former ability; and, in all probability, will lead the gods to reconsider their retention of his belovèd.

Rise O Moon

Rise O Moon consists of four stanzas each of eight lines alternately rhymed GH and FH.

A man implores the moon to rise and dull the stars that stab him with remembrance of a parted lover. He likens the stars to frozen tears but asks the moon to search out his lover before night fades into the dawn. Contrary to the joyful beams of the moon, stars have no remembrance of happy days and are impervious to imploring eyes. He will, therefore, offer himself in their place because there is no keener observer than the jilted lover.


The protagonist rails at his entrapment by Time that flows about him, sometimes fleetingly, sometimes tediously but always uncontrollably. He despairs at his subjugation but accepts the inevitable conclusion with, however, the thought that his spirit will, then, be freed. Furthermore, his deeds will live on in remembrance and defy his oppressor.

Format is six stanzas each of thirteen lines and is not rhymed.

Will You Return?

Will You Return consists of five stanzas each of eleven lines and is not rhymed.

Two lovers have been separated as autumn and winter approach, which not only signifies privation but also serves as a metaphor for separation. The protagonist bewails his fate and the long wait until his lover's return which he, in her absence, urges her to confirm. He rejoices in the prospect of the renewal of their love in the spring and enumerates all the wonders of the new season that they will experience when they are together again.

He reverts to reality, however, concluding that he must await events and, in the depths of his melancholy, even envisages the thought that she will not return, whereupon, all comfort will be lost.

Yearning For The Past

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