Saturday, August 29, 2009

Why Did I Laugh This Night ?

Why did I laugh this night ? There is no explanation
Neither God nor Demon has that retort,
Neither Heaven nor Hell would dignify the question
so I must turn to my human heart.
Heart ! You and I are here, lonely and alone;
tell me, why do I laugh ? In this ; my human pain
Darkness ! Darkness ! Forever must I moan,
Petitioning Heaven and Hell and Heart in vain !
Why do I laugh, when I know this life is on loan ?
Of untold pleasure my imagination brags
But this very night I could be gone.
The world's tattered flags would fly as rags -
Poetry, Glory and Beauty are deservedly adored
but Death is greater - Life's greatest reward.

- originally by Junkets
translated into french by Fouad El-Etr
untranslated by me

Friday, August 28, 2009

When the fear that I'll cease to exist is upon me,
before my pen can move, my mind has hatched
more than a book, a stack of books, in words
which flower like full-ripe seed.
When I see the star-decked face of the night,
the immense, symbolic clouds, the high romance,
I think that I will never live to follow
their shadows, the magic hand of fate;
and I feel, gorgeous creature of the hour,
that never more will I look upon you,
never taste the faery power of your blameless love !
And so on the edge of the wide world I stand alone
and think of Love and Glory until they fade to black.
When the shadows of the clouds
are pressed upon the plain
a long sad season ends.
Born in the sweet mid-day,
Cleansing the sick sky of its impurity.

The anxious month, relieved of its pain,
rediscovers the sensations of May,
like a long lost right restored.
Like the petals of the rose,
or the finest summer rain,
the calmest of thoughts comes to us,
the petals unfolding,
fruit, silently ripening,
autumnal sun,
smiling in the evening
upon the quiet grass.

Tender cheek of Sappho,
whispering breath of a sleeping babe,
the sand slows in the hourglass,
A forest stream ; a poet's dream.

Tender cheek of Sappho,
a sleeping baby's breath
the sand slows in the hourglass.
A forest stream ; a poet's death.