Sthephan G. Stephansson Poetry

PASSING THE TIME

Before you, summer, take your leave
for the long oblivion bound,
out of the silence I must give
thanks for your time with me, my friend.

Into your breast a chill now sneaks
and images of ice and shade,
and on your forest's leaf-green cheeks
the stubble starts to fade.

Time and again the raging storm
has swept about your elder woods,
from budding clusters like a comb
the soft white hair it sheds.

But since you still look in again
and grant me refuge in your shine:
In fond commemoration then
a garland from my thoughts I'll twine.

My purse is not weighed down with coins
nor my clothes deck with purple ruff,
yet on your paths, from elves' gold stones,
I have gathered wealth enough.

For I was given flowery beds
and sunbeam seas my precious gift,
and a forest full of birds
and rabbits fleet and swift.

Often I sighed, in silence though,
never prompting my neighbours' wrath
when from every bush the crow
of pending storms cawed forth.

When your summer sunshine's brow
sank low in rivers of rain,
and cloudy sky from pools of blue
hailed upon the rolling plain.

Yet ever you provide and save
and repay faith that hopes for yours,
bringing before the breaking wave
most things to autumn's bounteous shores.

The fondest sailings I've always found
upon each wishful ferry
which deftly steers the tightest ground
between the wave and skerry.

Within me then the need arose
to thaw and melt the silence all
and keep you treasured in this verse
before the winter comes in full.

Stay with me for one month still
defying winter ever long –
no, do not bid farewell until
the sound has vanished from your song!

Written in 1912

Translated by Bernard Scudder.



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