Poetry Archives Bio
September 18, 2004
5:45 AM
Gartruda

The shepherd Micaelis was with ardour
torn for Gartruda, who in the revels
of the city sang idly fancy songs.
Near the swift waters of the flowing Fraser,
surrounded by motion of its effort
he idly walked alone, lamenting fate.
"Cruel Gartruda, do you not hear my songs?
Have you no memory of our embrace
and our bold forays to the city's heart?
Now, all the ewes of thought that I had herded
retreated all—more plentiful pastures
and kinder masters do not torture them
with endless repetition of lament
in different form. O, lucky Corydon—
you can compare your passions, for experience
yields better wisdom, even if not triumph,
of keeping close your love. You scorn me, Gartruda,
who or what I am care not to ask me—
how rich by lineage, have I a carriage
or how comport myself I in the vain
gath'rings of artistic frivol'ty; fools
and their compatriots, who want nothing
but the quaintness of your person. Alas,
my Gartruda, I must honestly admit
I should have known of your disenchantment
with my person, for it is very easy
to separate me from my occupation
which caused to recklessly reserve for you
my love: I, in my nature, shepherd words,
which, tender all as babes, I nightly bring
to sleep in my home with me; in the dawn,
I them release, to frolic, talk and contemplate
their ways. Gartruda, understand—I do not
longer struggle for your love, but my stray
flocks await, apart, to feel your tender
touch and be released from the oppressive
hold of useless passion. I now understand!
Ah, Micaelis, fool, what crazed your wit?
Everything follows set orders of the song
which binds us all, in purpose and in cadence.
The mind pursues its target like a wolf,
hungry to devour, acknowledge life, love,
loss; my love too must set in accord,
like the departing sun, and end the hunt
in twilight, with your benevolent assent;
remember Gartruda: I am not a hunter."