Poems Without Frontiers

Poems in Translation

David Paley

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Too Far, Too Soon
David William Paley

The silken rope of life
Split when stretched too far,
The load of love too great
For even chains to bear.
I pulled but lacked the strength
To hold you to my breast;
The force that drew you forth
To lands beyond the sea
Was powered by a loving God
Who took you with a kiss
Because you should be free.

We would have lived forever
Beneath the sparkling sun,
Devotedly, throughout our lives,
Were it not that very life
That failed us in the end:
A life that gave us all;
A life that held us dear;
A life of total bliss;
But a life too short
That ended with a kiss.

We loved the music and the ballet
We loved the dancing, too.
We loved the country walks,
The hills and footpaths that we trod
Where roses always bloomed
With a fragrance that would last.
Nothing stopped us loving
Except the hand of fate
That intervened without a reason
And snatched you from my grasp.

Were we young and foolish?
Were we too in love?
We each lived for the other
And could not think of self.
You were the queen of swans
And I the doting prince;
But applause becomes an echo
As our former selves withdraw;
And I must dance alone
Across the empty floor.

Now, you must exchange me
For a glimpse of worlds elsewhere
Where you have been detained,
Removed to far off lands
On a journey with my soul.
I, gladly, gave it to you
To keep forever and a day
But bade it not farewell
For, you are clasped within my heart,
Like the pearl within a shell.

Do you hear an angel's voice
Sound from harps of gold
As in our deep embrace?
Do flowers bloom in realms apart
And wave across Elysian fields
With their accustomed grace?
Does a trace of scented air
Wreathe around your years;
And do you sing the songs
That console me in my tears?

Be with me in the midnight hour
And scatter treasures
Through my dreams
Where, at last, I may confess
The thoughts I long to tell.
You will move about the room
And stay as young as ever
As in the times we knew before
But fade upon the waking bell
With a step that sounds no more.

With this fond endearment,
We shall, always, be together,
Apart but still united,
Although our hands will never touch,
Until I climb to far off summits
By way of heavens' stair,
Where, in those mysterious peaks,
I pluck from rainbows my bouquet
To greet you with eternal spring
And forget that you had been away.

David William Paley