A Paradelle: Blazing Oars

A Paradelle*: Blazing Oars

They come from near and far, for glory on the water.
They come from near and far, for glory on the water.
In rain or blazing sun, the weather doesn’t matter.
In rain or blazing sun, the weather doesn’t matter.
Far from glory, the rain on water doesn’t matter,
And in the sun, or near, they come for blazing weather.

The rowers’ beauty and their glimmering, pulling oars,
The rowers’ beauty and their glimmering, pulling oars,
That stroke takes the boat to eternal victory.
That stroke takes the boat to eternal victory.
To their glimmering stroke and victory,
The boat takes that eternal beauty, the rowers’ oars pulling.

The famous oarsman’s song rings clear from the sky,
The famous oarsman’s song rings clear from the sky:
‘I have rowed my last race, and I step from the ranks’,
‘I have rowed my last race, and I step from the ranks’.
My famous race rings from the song: I – I have rowed.
And the oarsman’s last clear step ranks from the sky.

The rowers’ rowed on the water – to race,
Their oars blazing for beauty and glory and victory.
In the sky, clear rings, glimmering, the sun takes
From the rain.  That oarsman’s boat pulling near
My eternal I.  They step from the famous last stroke song,
And I have come far from ranks, or doesn’t the weather matter?

G.R.B.
(11 May, 2013)

*American poet Billy Collins wrote about this poet form: “The paradelle is one of the more demanding French fixed forms, first appearing in the langue d’oc love poetry of the eleventh century. It is a poem of four six-line stanzas in which the first and second lines, as well as the third and fourth lines of the first three stanzas, must be identical. The fifth and sixth lines, which traditionally resolve these stanzas, must use all the words from the preceding lines and only those words. Similarly, the final stanza must use every word from all the preceding stanzas and only these words.” However, read this.

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