Friday, April 22, 2016

Some Poem Drafts

Except for the last one, all of these are inspired by other poems. The first is based on a passage in the Kalevala (Runo 21); the second on one of the odes of Gregory of Narek, the images of which it follows fairly closely (it is 13A in Terian's The Festal Works of St. Gregory of Narek); the third on a short stretch of passage from the Old English poem The Seafarer; the fourth from one of the poems in Ezra Pound's Cathay.


Ale, you are the drink delicious,
stripping sorrow from the drinker,
bringing song to all the people;
may they shout with mouths sweet-gilded
as the lords are made to wonder,
ladies, too, to contemplate it.

Soon the song will fade and falter,
joys will fall to shameful silence,
if the ale is brewed too badly,
if the drink has not its goodness;
soon the singers lose their voices,
soon the songs are dim and tepid,
soon the guests are dull with quiet,
soon the songbirds stop rejoicing,
if the beer is sour and wretched.

Ale, you are the drink delicious,
bringing joy to any people,
urging song upon their voices;
may your brew be laughter golden,
may your taste be pure and good!

Gregory of Narek Sings of the Transfiguration

The gem-rose was bright, sunlit;
a bloom spread above from the sea;
from the far, wide sea it burst.
It glittered like fruit, like saffron,
like fruit in thick leaves, psalm-sung,
in David's fair song remembered.

In bright rose-bouquet hues shone.
Rose were the branches of poplar,
cedar and cypress rose high.
The valley-lily shone brightly.
North wind blew softly, a breeze;
from the south showered gentle mists.

Dew kissed the lily, pearl-like,
droplets of bright dew from sun-clouds.
All bright stars circle on high,
constellations bright like lilies.
Praise to the Father, the Son,
the Holy Spirit, Three and One.


I ache, grim-ridden, this ship a place of cares,
waves a-wilding,
anxious nightwatch extending
in worry at trembling cliffs.
Cold-enchained my feet, frost-bound, chill-clasped,
but cares boil hot in the heart,
hunger eating from inside the sea-tired soul.

Mei Sheng Ponders

Verdant the verdure by the river,
where willows overflow the way,
the lady, pale and pausing,
puts forth small hand upon the door.
Once a lady of the nighttime,
she became a drunkard's lady;
he leaves in drunkenness and stumbling.
Too often is she alone.


May this verse into oblivion fall,
and nevermore remembered be,
that none may of your life recall
or save you for a memory;
may none remember how you lied,
or how our love within you died.
So I curse you, though it curse me!

May this verse into oblivion fall,
that none your treasons may revive,
that none your evil may recall,
that none may think you once alive;
may your shade through silence glide
who in this life our love denied.
So I curse you, though it curse me!

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