(The translation of Ève is coming along nicely. I’ve translated a little over 8% of the poem in the last few weeks. I think it is the longest poem ever written in French, at over 200 pages, so I will be happy to be done by the end of the year.)
This is in part a confessional blog, so let me confess that I am continually struck by the truth of what the novelist Georges Bernanos wrote: Sin makes us live on the surface of ourselves, and we will only come home to ourselves to die. And he awaits us there.
You are more likely to find your heart’s content, in part (this being the shadowland), the less sin and the more grace you have in your life. I have gone from spending a lot of time on sports, tv and politics (which were very unsatisfying anyway) to pretty much ignoring them. Classical music and poetry are my brand new passions, after ignoring them like some homely wall flowers all my life. Translating French poems into English and trying to learn how to write my own poems is very satisfying, even if its purely a hobby.
I noticed an instructional book at B&N over the weekend, A Poet’s Guide to Poetry, by Mary Kinzie, that looks pretty good, which I may buy. If anyone has an opinion on it, please comment.
What follows is a simple, baby poem, but a good practice exercise nonetheless. Rhymed couplets, eight syllables per line. Initially I was trying for iambic tetrameter, but I do not have the discipline yet to work at poem long enough to create a consistent meter throughout. This was ripped off pretty quickly. I will probably never write anything but earnest religious poetry, and in this I try to sum up a lot of what I have read and learned the last few years.
GAMES THE ANGELS PLAY
There is a game the angels play,
They fold their wings and fall away.
Carried high on the winds of love,
They put their trust in God above.
There is no fear, there is no doubt,
Their bodies limp and blown about.
We hope to join them in the sky,
But first a child must learn to fly.
The lesson imparts hurt and shame,
You bear within the ancient blame.
But if you start to learn to cry,
You may grow wings before you die.
As you lay the weight on the ground,
Your soul begins to fly around.
And joins the dance up in the air,
And clasps the hands of the angels fair.
But first do find the partner true,
The one who gave his life for you.
He knows the dance and how to move,
There is no skill that you must prove.
No mighty faith nor works you need,
Just be content with him the lead.
And walk along the little way,
His heart will teach you how to pray.
And listen to the holy dove,
Who flies about the air above.
And when your time has reached its end,
Comes the hand of a silent friend.
This guardian you never heard,
Will take you to the living word.
You will learn your true name that day,
And join the games the angels play.