Poems Without Frontiers

Poems in Translation

David Paley




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The View from My Kitchen Window
David Paley

Through a window with Georgian bars
I see a picture not painted by artists
But by nature and her cheerful hurrahs
That rescue the world from the darkness.
My cherry is loaded with blossoms in spring
Falling from heaven and crowding the branch,
Full blossomed pink emerging from snow
Covering evergreen shrubs down below.

All are presented in a glorious day
But too soon are tumbled by the miscreant breeze
So pleased with its carpet of pink on the lawn
That seems to become deeper with dawn;
But then, spreading out, are fingers of green
That run all around where colours are seen
And I can enjoy the coming of spring
Just as the birds are starting to sing.

Behind the tree is a close-board fence
Shielding the garden from the neighbouring road
And beyond the road is the opposite house
Now closed to view by their towering trees
That tease us by being so dense.
Over the house and the sky to the south
My artists are sparing with colours
And confine their pictures to blue and half-white
But I am nonetheless glad of the sight.

As I sat at my table in earlier days
I saw the face of the girl look from her window
Momentarily checking the weather
And who was gone in an instant.
The trees were smaller at that time in the past
But now completely smother the scene
So that the house has sunk as if in a forest
To give the illusion of impregnable green.

In the bed at the foot of the fence
Is a bush of deciduous currant
That rises from slumber to express all its powers
Forlorn in the winter but waking to spring and its glamour.
It must enjoy its task of renewal
Having consistently bloomed all through the years
And I am fond of its long lasting flowers
That fade from coral to white later in summer.

In front of the bed is a trough made of wood
Placed by my father many years in the past.
Some bedding plants make an appearance:
Annuals, probably scorned by the shrubs;
But they add a bold colour in an ocean of green
And transform into sea my slough of despond
Helped by the ducks on the top of the trough,
Not real ones but iron,
That take years to parade to the pond.

The shrubs then awake to take on their role
Blossoming into the broadest of blooms
Waving their flowers as the tree fades again
And viewing the new boys with a look of disdain.
They struggle to bud and present their bouquets
But when they emerge they remain many weeks
'Till loyal Stranvesia resumes its colourful coat,
As leaves of the autumn burst into flame.

My only regret is that fewer birds now are showing.
I loved the wren but he has been absent a decade
And also the thrush with her nest always near;
As well as the robin who bobs through the year
But is less in evidence now;
Some blackbirds and the occasional jay;
But too many magpies and wood pigeons enough
Though great tits still nest in their box by the trough.

Spring comes as a child and grows into summer
And then she departs and moves far away
Though not without promise of calling again
When she will return with a flower bouquet.
For duty will call and back she will come
Bringing the birds in full throated song
And wielding a sword whilst suited in armour
Piercing the view with magnificent colour.

That cold hearted winter may deprive me of joy
But I know that the sun will be freed from his clutches
When he slinks out of sight to recover from wounds
Nursed by the autumn with his watery moons.
So, I take comfort at night when I lower the blind:
There will be just a short absence from blossoms and birds;
Light will quickly triumph over darkness
And burgeoning spring trip closely behind.

David Paley