Poems Without Frontiers

Poems in Translation

David William Paley

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The Curtain Falls
David William Paley

I hoped to find contentment
And thought it was with you
But it was all theatre
And life was but a stage,
The figures merely actors
Presenting entertainment
In roles for anyone who paid.
You acted to perfection,
I believed in every word,
But now the curtain falls
And I leave your world of pose
To exchange the poetry of plays
For the blunt reality of prose.

You said I meant fulfilment
But I had not read the script.
Perhaps you were reviving
A part you had played before;
And I offered my bouquets
In thanks for your portrayal
Of a dedicated love.
It shone for only one bright day
But was captured by the evening sun
And drawn beyond horizons,
Swallowed by an unknown sea
Like a shipwreck in the storm
Far from harbour quay.

Ring out the bells from towers high;
Blast trumpets to the sky;
Sound happy times for all around
Except for those whose comedy has ended:
No further act could bring illumination
When the limelight is extinguished
On a scene of devastation.
You created music in my head
Before you threw away the baton
But, now, we go our separate ways
And sing no more of dreams
Nor are we dancing at the ballet
In most intimate of scenes.

Where is loyalty and reason?
Where is honesty and faith?
Gone to where the wind blows,
Strewn on autumn leaves;
Blown across the mountains
To all the compass points
Where they pierce with icy shards
The abandoned heart of life
And the soul of all that's true.
But they will not melt their barbs
And lose their force to wound
Or spring to birth in snowdrops
Like our passion that had bloomed.

The knights of old have gone
With the virtues that we knew
And, no longer, bear their witness
To the mores of our age
Where every mood is alteration
In a cultivated garden
Where flowers are no more.
But change is like the wild wind
That no one can control
Blowing on the harvest
To destroy the work of years
Joining with the rain that pours
With the streaming force of tears.

Let them beat with squandered kisses
Like hammers on the lake
Although, the creatures of our time
Will not even see the ripples
As I plunge below the depths of anguish
To cope with grief in secret
And hope the pain of loss will vanish.
Time may be a healer to another
But a century may pass
Before I rise again cleansed of all regret
When I shall, by great endeavour,
Have learned the lesson of today:
Love is good but constancy is better.