Thursday, September 16, 2010

Where have all the good poets gone?

In one of my classes, Tapestry of Grace, I had to read some poems this week from the Norton Anthology of Western Literature.  These poems are full of beautiful lyricism and fabulous imagery, and I had to share with you my favorite.

Summer (Translated from the Hebrew by William M. Davis)

The earth, like a girl, sipped the rains
Of winter past, and those the ministering clouds distilled
Or perhaps, like a secluded bride in winter
Whose soul longs for the coming of love's time
She waited, and sought the season ripe for love
Till summer came, and calmed her anxious heart
Wearing golden tunics and white embroidered flax.
Like a girl who delights in her finery and raiment,
Every day she renews the grace of her embroiderers
And provides all her neighbors with new garments.
Every day she changes the colors of her fields
Now with strings of pearls, now with emeralds or rubies, 
Offering her meadows now white or green or gold
Or blushing like the sweetheart kissing her beloved.
Her trellises display such gorgeous glowers
It seems as if she stole the stars from heaven.  
Here is paradise, whose sheltered buds are clustered
Among the vines, kindled with blushes that incite to love.
The grapes are cold as snow in the hand of him who plucks them.
But in his entrails, they burn as hot as fire.
From the whirling cask, the wine, like the sun, is rising.  
And we shall bring our onyx cups to pour it.
In the love of wine we shall stroll beneath the bowers
Around the garden, and smile with tears of rain, 
Bright with shining drops spilled by the clouds
That scatter round like strings of pearls.
She finds joy in the song of the swallow, and in the songs of the vintagers,
An in cooing pigeons tamed by love,
She twitters in the branches, as the maiden sings
Behind her zither, swaying as she dances.
My soul is attentive to the breeze of the dawn,
For it fondles the breath of my beloved. 
A wanton breeze it is, that steals the scent of myrtles
To waft it off to lovers apart.
The heads of the myrtles rise and nod in turn
While the tremulous fronds of the palm tree
Seem to applaud the singing of the birds.

Why does no one write this way anymore?  It saddens the heart.

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