Poems Without Frontiers

Poems in Translation

David Paley

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David William Paley

O Time, you hold us fast with ruthless talons
Granting fickle favours removed again at whim;
And like a breath of wind that waves the corn,
Pass unseen through worlds of man
To claim revenge for no offence
Unless it be that deeds remain
When you have ceased to reign.
For you despise us, now,
And heap your woes upon us
That burden us with care
Too great for us to carry
As we stumble to the finish
Drained of strength and vigour.

There is no law in your caprice.
You drift and crawl and rush and fly
Before you drop us for a further prey
Who will run the race once more!
If only I could tear another year
From that flying cloak of chance
And send you off to work elsewhere,
Whilst, untroubled, here I stay
Bathed in sunlight throughout the day
Without the need for shelter
Beneath the shade of trees
Where, safe from Time and partner,
I would live as long as God allows.

But I know my will must yield, at last,
To the frolics of your fluttering life
That flies from sport to sport
To land upon me as if to rest
From all those hectic games.
Your purpose, then, will be
To calm the waves upon the seas
And be as still as fog at break of day,
To laze with me until the sun has set,
When evening ends upon the breeze,
As the passage of the hours
Seeks the exit to the maze
In the corridor of years.

Then, I shall take my weary seat with you
And rest my head upon your shoulder.
You will hold my hand and comfort me
And assure me that my life was not in vain
With the promise that I shall meet my friends.
You will be my true companion, sigh and pity me
And shake your head in deep condolence
As you reach your arm to mine
To help me board your outspread wings,
Whilst I shall place my trust in you
As if I were a child, again,
Upon a visit of great importance
And know that you will pay my entrance.

On that day, your mirth will pass
And I shall be beyond your grasp
At rest with caring souls,
No more a slave to life
But floating through another realm.
No longer held by bands of iron,
I shall have burst my prison bars
Content to leap from earth to sky
And fly to freedom in the stars
Where dust will come to dust
And ash be turned to ash
But the spirit will be free
Revered by all for evermore.

I leave the world with no regrets
Except that thoughts will cease to be.
Gone, the sights that I have known:
The light that brings the day
And rainbows after rain;
The dark that brings the night
And sparkling eyes in those I love.
But I leave my hopes and wishes
That the happiness we had live on
And, should the world forget my name,
A remnant, yet, will still survive
In works that live forever
Beyond the clutch of Time.