For the Ideal

No great sigh of relief here.
No weight lifted,
Chest uncrushed;
Not unburdened or unladen.

Not tonight, or the last,
And not tomorrow;
So when will come
The next rebuttal?

Not against regret or pain,
But the loss of something
Good, gentle, kind,
Loving and loved.

A loss to later gain
Some little opportunity
With meager chance
Of finding the ideal.

Why else would any of us
Subject selves to grief
Time, time, and time?
And, I ask, to what end?

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Not What You Seek

To the girl who cannot love,
I know not what to say
to ease the pain, erase the ache
Of love you lost in former days.

A tragic figure carved here,
Bitten by the sting of life,
Not despondent, just downhearted,
A chary girl, twice as shy.

Cautious, yes, but not too lost
For liveliness and gaiety;
Are these your shield and succour
‘Gainst the self: alone, not lonely?

What painted lips essay to cover,
Reveals itself in joyless eyes;
The shroud: effect, not the purpose,
I will not say your smile lies.

Your lips tell a truth of their own:
A defiant will against this ‘life’,
Though the word is indefinable,
Like the love one day you hope to find.

Can you grasp that wispy form,
Or claim a land that has no border?
Then what hope did you ever have
Of your hunted prey to corner?

Are you sure, this love, you’d recognize,
If it found you out tomorrow–
A fire, ablaze in truest form,
Mixed of grace and hope and sorrow?

I’ve seen a depth of love before
No mortal man could ever reach,
And found myself lost in rapture,
Quiet before the mercy seat.

Those feelings lost, which you now grieve,
Could have never quenched your heart–
A heart that’s known some loss and pain,
Affairs of friendships torn apart.

But there is love not to be found;
This is love that seeks for you,
Finding you where you are now,
But redeems and cleanses, too.

So I cannot hope you find
Everything you’re looking for,
But I pray that you receive
The love I’ve known that’s so much more.

Laissez-moi un temps

Laissez-moi un temps, un temps indéfini,
Et à mon part, je te partirai aussi.
Tu iras, dans un mois, par-déla la mer;
Moi, j’irai aussi, mais j’irai à la guerre.

Pendant longtemps, il est assez probable
Que toi et moi ne serons pas ensemble.
Je penserai à toi, même si tu m’oublie;
Mais si tu te souviens, prie pour ton ami.

Dans plusieurs années, nous nous verrons à nouveau
Après avoir voyager par monts et par vaux.
Je vais te regarder avec un sourire
Temps, le médecin, m’a blessé pour me guérir.

This is my first foray into writing poetry in French. I admit I am quite pleased with the result, though with my lapse in practicing the language, I cannot say for certain that it is any good. However, for my own part, I like it well enough. Perhaps I will show it to someone whose skills in the language are far superior to my own and receive judgment from them on its merits.

I am pleased that this poem possesses a steady rhythm, as previously I had not attempted to include both a rhyme scheme and rhythm in the same poem because of the difficulty of managing the two at once. After this attempt, though, I should like to try it more often, being happy with the result of this first attempt.

I don’t know whom I shall show this poem to for judgment, but I hope if any French-speaking person finds their way to it, they will forgive an American who is doing the best he can.