Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Poem Re-Draft and Three New Poem Drafts

"Meeting" is based on a poem by Sappho, usually called "Ode to a Loved One". Catullus has a poem, much better than mine, based on the same.

When You Are Old

When you are old, and your flowing hair
glows silver in the twilight,
and in the evening you prepare to sleep
unto darker sleep and night,
hold close this fragment to your heart,
recite the words aloud;
remember one who saw your face
rise sun-like from the crowd;
and know that as this little world
turns to mist and falls away
that nonetheless your shining path
grows brighter towards the day.

When you are old, and your gentle eye
turns shy and hides from light,
recall again these faded words
from old days of force and fight.
Call to mind how once my eye
saw more in you than clay --
that gem still glows with truth's own fire
though dust has washed away;
and when its light no more to sight
is brought, through tiredness and care,
from darkness rescue then these words:
light always will be there.

When you are old, and your arm is weak,
and you sadly face the grave,
this poem and these words I write
from oblivion still save;
they are words of flawless omen, heavy laid
with the burden of the Lord,
and will not fade when the bright bowl breaks,
at the snapping of silver cord:
You were a marvel, a wonder once,
and a wonder still you'll be,
though fire consume the works of man
and the stars drown in the sea!


Treasures and Dragons


No treasures are lacking dragons,
no roads devoid of sphinx;
dark riddles shroud gates of cities,
dark sirens still lure and sing:

O men! Such foolish folly,
crying "Peace!" where there is none!
Making war against the dragons
is the way the prize is won.

Iliad V, 770ff

As far as man can see,
eyes to hazy distance,
seated on mountain peak
looking over wine-dark sea,
so far is the lordly leap
of loudly-neighing god-steeds.

Meeting

I gazed on you one moment:

my voice fled its master,
my tongue ceased, ashamed,
my eyes lost their vision,
my ears filled with roar;

soft flame coursed over me:

my limbs were all in tremble,
my color pale aurora-fire,
strength fled from every part,
I stood and began to die.

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