A few more verses on the plague

English original, puis une interprétation en prose française y en prosa española.

A few more verses on the plague

The woman with brown hair, watercolor by William Eaton, May 2020What with the plague my hair –
Slowly, steadily it has grown;
When at the mirror glancing dare,
Here’s a truth: a self unmown.

What with the plague my bed –
All the hollows I know too well;
Restless my limbs and bored my head;
Lost to cuddling, we rebel.

What with the plague my art
Finds a life half hidden before.
Silence imagination startles;
Cave-bound, dark our hopes explore.

What with the plague we live
Wondering if it’s ever thus?
Ideas of freedom coexist
With what we can’t, what we must.

Each plague has its poetry,
Drawing a few lines back to earth.
1 billion sperm, 2 ovaries:
Failure’s rampant, so’s rebirth.

Français

Interprétation : quelques lignes de prose sur la peste

  • Au milieu de la peste, mes cheveux ne cesseront pas de pousser. Dans le miroir, il y a au moins cette vérité : un moi un peu désorganisé.
  • Au milieu de la peste, mon lit – tous ces creux que je connais trop bien. Les membres s’agitent, la tête s’ennuient. Qui ne se rebellerait pas – perdus aux câlins ?
  • Au milieu de la peste, mes dessins prennent un essor inattendu. Le silence fait sursauter l’imagination ; dans les grottes espoirs obscurs s’explorent.
  • Au milieu de la peste, nous demandons : cela a-t-il toujours été ainsi ? L’icône de la liberté continue d’être débitée avec plus de contraintes et d’obligations.
  • À chaque fléau sa poésie, dessinant quelques lignes entre nous et la terre. 1 milliard de spermatozoïdes, 2 ovaires : l’échec est garanti, et, semble-t-il, des renaissances aussi.

Español

Interpretación: unas pocas líneas de prosa sobre la peste

  • En medio de la peste mi cabello… no dejará de crecer. En el espejo hay al menos esta verdad: un yo un poco desorganizado.
  • En medio de la peste, mi cama… con todos esos huecos que conozco bien demasiado. Los miembros inquietos, la cabeza aburrida. ¿Quién no se rebelaría?… Perdido por los abrazos,…
  • En medio de la peste, mis dibujos… dan un giro inesperado. El silencio despierta la imaginación; en las cuevas se exploran las oscuras esperanzas.
  • En medio de la peste, nos preguntamos, ¿ha sido siempre así? El icono de la libertad sigue sacando a relucir junto con más limitaciones y obligaciones.
  • A cada peste su poesía, dibujando unas líneas entre nosotros y la tierra. 1.000 millones de espermatozoides, 2 ovarios: el fracaso está garantizado y, al parecer, también los renacimientos.

— Text(s) and drawing by William Eaton

∩ If every poem also draws lines back to a previous poem or poems, this one was inspired by Thomas Gray’s Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard with its abab (alternating, four-lines-per-verse) rhyme scheme. The elegy, from 1751, has, in addition, a thing or two to say about twenty-first century American politics, when it speaks of how the humble lot of these country people

      . . . their crimes confined;
Forbade to wade through slaughter to a throne,
And shut the gates of mercy on mankind,

The struggling pangs of conscious truth to hide,
To quench the blushed of ingenuous shame
Or heap the shrine of Luxury and Pride . . .

Please allow me to also call attention here to a recent post of the wonderful Quote Investigator Garson O’Toole (Sullivan). His recent piece on The Smallest Good Deed Is Better Than the Grandest Good Intention generously thanks me for getting that particular ball rolling.

And today my mother would have celebrated her 90th birthday had she not died a few years before plagues overran US government, hospitals, homes.

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