Poems Without Frontiers

Poems in Translation

David Paley

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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.


A man in the depths of despair welcomes a night of rest but quickly descends into misgivings at the thought that he will be granted only torment and that he may not see another day. All the delights of the world will be denied to him and he will, soon, pass into the grave. He wonders why he must continue to suffer when the future appears so bleak; but concludes that he is indifferent to his fate. He neither wishes for the end nor for an extension to life; but is able to conclude with some hope that the darkness may finally be lifted.

Format is five stanzas of between thirteen and twenty lines each the length of which reflects the turmoil of his mind. The poem is irregularly rhymed.

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.

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.

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

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.

Thoughts of Mortality

Thoughts of Mortality consists of nine stanzas each of ten lines except the first which is of nine lines. It is only sparsely rhymed.

My debt to Wordsworth may be here discerned in the subject matter if not in the prose. Having evidently experienced the loss of a close friend, the protagonist reflects for the first time on the fragility of life wondering whether he may also soon feel the hand of fate. He dismisses the foolish arrogance of man in considering himself and his works immortal and bemoans man's inability to achieve worthy objectives.

He is almost prepared to surrender his will to live long; and he philosophically greets the notion of dying as merely a transition to a further life and renewal of old contacts. But then, reason prevails and he rejects his sad solemnity in favour of his former vigour and, in a Wordsworthian allusion, shakes off the sentimentality into which his former sadness has drawn him.