‘A Sonnet’s Beauty’ and Other Poetry by Alex McKeown The Society October 20, 2015 Beauty, Poetry, Translation 1 Comment A Sonnet’s Beauty A sonnet’s beauty’s mostly in the planning, Not in the writing, reading, even saying. The builder knows it’s in the careful laying Of foundations ‘fore the brutal sweat of scanning He finds his glory, Xanadu, still standing. But watch, the towers’ walls have started swaying, Bricks bursting, crashing from their heights, and spraying And all that’s left’s a shallow, buried, landing. When I consider what might have been, what was, Though never seen by more forgiving eyes, How every flame which briefly lit was ripped To shroud in night my way, I sink, because With flashing eyes and floating hair I sipped But could not bare the milk of paradise. Sonnet 3 II (after Shakespeare) Look in your glass and tell the face beheld The time has come, dear face, to make another The same as you, don’t swindle from the world Its only end, nor blessings from a mother. Show me a wench who’d leave her womb unsown If you would come to till her field! You love Yourself and lying in a grave alone So much? Are your own ends, alone, enough? You are your mother’s and your mother’s glass, She sees in you her greener years though grey. Soon, windows smeared, you too some vibrant grass Will seek to brighten up a fading day. He dies who dies alone without a pair, He lives through death who dies with living heir. Translation of Sommeil, paisible fils de la Nuit solitaire Sleep, O peaceful child of lonesome Night, Alms Father, nourisher of every beast, Gracious enchanter fading sins to peace, And, for those spirits blessed, a welcome sight, God, giving favour to all, all except me, Why leave me alone? alone charged with this curse? Even as humid Night drives her blackening hearse, Whose horses play in ordinary grace and glee? Where is thy silence? where is thy rest and calm? Thy dreamings floating like some heavy clouds, Washing with waves of forgetfulness our cares? O brother of death, that I could bring thee harm! I’ve been calling thee for help, thou art sleeping sound As I, alert, burn in thy frozen fears. — (untitled) by Philippe Desportes (1546 – 1606) Sommeil, paisible fils de la Nuit solitaire, Père alme, nourricier de tous les animaux, Enchanteur gracieux, doux oubli de nos maux, Et des esprits blessés l’appareil salutaire : Dieu favorable à tous, pourquoi m’es-tu contraire ? Pourquoi suis-je tout seul rechargé de travaux, Or que l’humide nuit guide ses noirs chevaux, Et que chacun jouit de ta grâce ordinaire ? Ton silence où est-il ? ton repos et ta paix, Et ces songes volant comme un nuage épais, Qui des ondes d’Oubli vont lavant nos pensées ? Ô frère de la Mort, que tu m’es ennemi ! Je t’invoque au secours, mais tu es endormi, Et j’ards, toujours veillant, en tes horreurs glacées. Alex McKeown’s poetry has appeared in paper wasp, 7×20 and Windfall: Australian Haiku. His translations of Guillaume Apollinaire have appeared in Ezra. Featured Image: “The Voyage of Life: Youth” by Thomas Cole Views expressed by individual poets and writers on this website and by commenters do not represent the views of the entire Society. The comments section on regular posts is meant to be a place for civil and fruitful discussion. Pseudonyms are discouraged. The individual poet or writer featured in a post has the ability to remove any or all comments by emailing submissions@ classicalpoets.org with the details and under the subject title “Remove Comment.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Related One Response james sale October 21, 2015 Sonnet 3 here is especially fine – I love using the classics as models as the basis for the modern re-writes/updates which are possible. Well done – really good stuff. Reply Leave a Reply to james sale Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.