Poems Without Frontiers

Poems in Translation

David Paley






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Despondency
David Paley

Welcome, rest and quiet peace!
Day has run its course
And yields to the gathering gloom.
The whispering trees bring zephyr eve
And a thousand starlings wheel
As blossoms shield their bloom.
Balmy airs and gentle breeze
Relieve the anxious sighs
And infants sleep without a murmur
Safe from prying eyes.
Sweet odours from the musk of roses
Dispel all thought of sorrow;
And tinted clouds that shine above
Send evening calm and bright tomorrow.
Day fades from view and angels sing
To build a haven from the storms,
As I await the joyful beams
That streak the eastern sky.

But, do those branches
Tap the window
To beckon me to sombre crags
Where nought but forests lurk;
To dream eternal dreams
Where time no longer flows?
Does bleak, blank, brooding black,
The destination of us all,
Beguile me with profoundest rest
Where I can slip from worldly cares
Without the prospect of return
And hold no discourse more;
To descend unending steps
Through souls in mourning
Reflecting on the world
In their repose of ages
Nevermore to rise again
Bereft of hope that,
If night should follow day,
Day will follow night.

No flight of swans would grace the azure skies
Or snow peaked mountain tops be seen.
No sound of children's play
Nor sight of upturned lover's face;
No chimes of steeple bells
Nor choral voices in devotion!
Nought but rank decay and taste of dust
Secured by crumbled iron,
Where I would lie through dateless age
Pursued by fiends whilst ravens fly!
Nor, as ivy grows around the yew,
A light to bring the dawn
To the plot that I would occupy!

Must Time's scythe and Charon's oar
Delay forever!
Do they not claim a swift revenge
For my resisting all their friends
Who invite me to their party?
Must I wait upon their call
To find that misery ends
In a tomb that charity sends?
I have applied my idle thoughts
To fill the gulf before me
But no flowers grow
In fields that, now, are empty.
A world so full of yearning
Is seen on these horizons
And will not change by morning:
Day will be as any other
And night be ever lonely.

No longer do I beg the heavens
For favours that they will not grant.
I do not ask the rain to stop
Nor for the storm to rage.
I do not ask the easy way
Nor do I wish for hardship.
I am inured to what will come
And shall endure my lot
When even moon is shaded.
If I must bear the yoke
And bend beneath the torment,
I shall know the final kiss;
But I am not beyond the hope
That fortune will relent
For sun to peep from blackened sky
To signal trials spent
And, thus, to cause the dark to die.