Poems Without Frontiers

Poems in Translation

David Paley

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The Artiste
David William Paley

When he sang upon the stage,
I heard a voice divine,
As the greatest actor of our time
Portrayed the precious arts.

Velvet were the tones
And gracious was his movement.
The day was magic
Plucking scenes from out the air;

But I did not see the music
Or the man who wrote the words.
He was the truer god
Who commanded wisps of thought
To set them down for us to hear
And move the soul to shed a tear.

What key unlocked that secret realm
Or cradle nurtured inspiration?
Did it burn in hidden fires slowly underground
Until volcanoes erupted into flames?

Or flash like lightning from the cloud?
Or descend from night time skies
With the clarity of stars
To fall upon the mind as light upon the eyes?

Or ripen like the seed to harvest
Gathered with the skill of reapers
Gained by years of labour;
Or like the sunlight on the waters
That transforms the lake to sparkles
When thoughts create enchanted castles?

Does the home invite the stranger
To learn of skills beyond the hearth
And put them to the test of trial
Upon the road that leads to fortune?

Or are those doors that open on the world
Closed to all who lack the gift of sight
And choose to tread the beaten path
That winds through barren ground?

Could mountain peak afford the height
To show the breadth of foreign lands
That hold the wisdom to be sought;
Or fountain count the coins
That measure unrequited sighs
Breathed by love that never dies?

Who can find the buried treasure
When no one has the map;
Or discover far off lands
Of which no one is aware?

But, must one reach the stars
When one can feel their beauty,
Or see a butterfly on the rose
To know that flowers are scented?

Must speech be dragged from dungeons deep
Where ropes of steel bind thoughts in sleep
And language lie below our vision
With shade of night in hidden realms
Where it awaits the right occasion
For dawn to light our comprehension?

Blaze forth, you sun of day,
Rise up you moon of night!
Let lanterns beam and beacons flare;
Send all the light from fires bright
To shine upon the stage
Where life is acted out.

Stoke the furnace of inspiration
And fan the glowing embers into sparks.
Make them burn with the heat of passion
To let the thoughts that they inspire
Escape the boiling cauldron
In the bubbles of expression.

David William Paley