Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Two Poems for Two Years

From the diwan of Samuel ibn Nagrilla, trans. Peter Cole

Be glad, she said,
that God has given you
fifty years
in this world —
though she didn't know
there is no division
between, as I see it,
my days that have passed
and Noah's
of which I've heard.
In the world I have nothing
but the hour I"m in,
which stands for a moment,
and then like a cloud moves on.

Excerpted from "Adonais," Percy Bysshe Shelley

O, weep for Adonais!-The quick Dreams,
The passion-winged Ministers of thought,
Who were his flocks, whom near the living streams
Of his young spirit he fed, and whom he taught
The love which was its music, wander not,-
Wander no more, from kindling brain to brain,
But droop there, whence they sprung; and mourn their lot
Round the cold heart, where, after their sweet pain,
They ne'er will gather strength, or find a home again.

And one with trembling hands clasps his cold head,
And fans him with her moonlight wings, and cries,
"Our love, our hope, our sorrow, is not dead;
See, on the silken fringe of his faint eyes,
Like dew upon a sleeping flower, there lies
A tear some Dream has loosened from his brain."
Lost Angel of a ruined Paradise!
She knew not 'twas her own; as with no stain
She faded, like a cloud which had outwept its rain.

One from a lucid urn of starry dew
Washed his light limbs as if embalming them;
Another clipped her profuse locks, and threw
The wreath upon him, like an anadem,
Which frozen tears instead of pearls begem;
Another in her wilful grief would break
Her bow and winged reeds, as if to stem
A greater loss with one which was more weak;
And dull the barbed fire against his frozen cheek.

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