Poems Without Frontiers

Poems in Translation

David Paley

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Revolution Dawn
David William Paley

In the slumbering depths of the bourgeois town,
Coal black clouds of charcoal smoke
Pour out from engine funnels
To wreathe a stealthy quiet
Beneath a cloak of muffled calm.
In that shroud of sabled dead,
The world is lured to enchanted sleep
Where righteous souls rest undisturbed
Wrapped within their gossamer thread
Without a thought for the call to arms.

But now, a match lights furtive lanterns
And the spark of revolution faintly glows
Then sputters brightly in all the caverns
To blend with others as they join the struggle
To send the force of darkness on its journey.
Insurgents swarm from eastern strongholds
To join the partisans upon the mountains
Where sentries prowl the far horizon
Alert to glimpse in distant skies
The fiery cannon of a conquering army.

Dreams give way to approaching grey
As night gives birth to appointed day;
Funereal black draws aside its veil
As streaks of pewter pierce the air
And the pent up masses rise in silence.
Activists meet to plan destruction
As revolt spreads quickly through the land;
And leaders, drawing slowly near,
Are sealed from view in their compartments.

Fellow travellers alight whilst still in motion
To creep through shadows at their destination
As old guard outcasts in headlong rush
Purchase passage at any cost
And hasten to the parting train.
They leave the baggage of the old regime
To the scorn of rising day
Whilst, in the gleam through threadbare curtains,
Mine host perceives a glint of further gain.

Now, riot gathers force for the final charge
And, with a race to new found freedom,
Bursts the shield of distant hills
With a thousand swords of burnished gold
As choral songs sound daylight greeting.
Invaders encounter no resistance
And banish that black bat in a blaze of light
As unconquered youth stands astride the heavens
And new dawn hails the day with trumpets blasting.

David William Paley