Poems Without Frontiers

Poems in Translation

David Paley

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David William Paley

Oh, wind of parted lovers!
Awake from tropic sleep
In timorous ocean waters
And whirlpools of the deep.
The trackless waste now warms
So spend no more those drowsy days
Locked in stupor where you laze.
Rise and sweep the heavens
And grow from wispy breeze
To gain the strength of storms
That cross a thousand leagues.

Fill the sails with urgent air;
Whip the billows and ride the crests;
Gallop over coursing tides
To race across tumultuous seas.
Stir the waves to faster flow
Surging past the harbour quays
Across the cliffs and over hills
To thrust through field and briar
Raging past the whirling mills
To batter at the castle walls
Demanding entrance to the halls.

Descend from mountain peaks
To drive the forest fire
And fan my flaming cheeks
With the breath of all desire.
Take upon your soaring wings
The vows that I confide
And play on solemn strings,
To the sound of angel choirs,
The anguish of my soul
That throbs to singing lyres
And to her above aspires.

Carry those enchantments
To stir my truelove's hair.
Let her love in dreams arise
To cry aloud with heartfelt sighs
From high above in distant skies
Where she no longer has the power
To find again that happy hour
We spent within our woodland bower.
Caress her, therefore, in her slumbers
And soothe those anxious cries
As you stroke her dark and sightless eyes.

I shall remember this, your task,
Performed at my behest
And forgive your arctic blast
But no repeat need I request.
It was love that bade me call you
To which you have responded.
Through you, she has replied
And from beyond the great divide
Her heart to me has tendered.
So take her gift as your reward
And spread the news to all the world.

Fly to all the compass points
And pour it on the earth below
So that all whom it anoints
Will share what everyone shall know:
You may ripple over lakes
Or move among the reeds
And be as fleeting as a thought;
Shake the fragrant blossoms
And wave the flower bells;
But, in that gentle air,
Lies the strength to solve despair.

If you must be raging,
Thrust all obstacles aside
To scatter whirling debris
From recesses in our minds.
Drive misunderstandings
Into heaps of autumn leaves;
Then, tug upon our sleeves
To murmur in the trees
The speech to you assigned
Before returning to the nymphs
Beneath the seas confined.

As you breathe upon the night
The words with which you were entrusted,
Confirm that they, to our delight,
Have, now, to all been whispered.
Remember, when you rise again,
That those who, now, are parted
Will, like lovers in the moonlight,
Know that they are still united.
For, apart from driving cloud and rain,
You are a wind of constant change
That stoops to lift a fallen leaf
As well as souls from depths of grief.