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Maurice Apr 11
i am
the fork in the road
while others choose
i stay

left AND right
good AND bad
happy AND sad
love AND hate

the forgotten third wheel
unable to decide
destined to remain
stuck in the middle ground
04/11/20
I Have a Yong Suster
(anonymous Medieval English riddle-poem, circa 1430)
translation by Michael R. Burch

I have a young sister
Far beyond the sea;
Many are the keepsakes
That she sent me.

She sent me the cherry
Without any stone;
And also the dove
Without any bone.

She sent me the briar
Without any skin;
She bade me love my lover
Without longing.

How should any cherry
Be without a stone?
And how could any dove
Be without a bone?

How should any briar
Be without a skin?
And how could I love my lover
Without longing?

When the cherry was a flower,
Then it had no stone;
When the dove was an egg,
Then it had no bone.

When the briar was unborn,
Then it had no skin;
And when a maiden has her mate,
She is without longing!

This poem was sung in the movie "Animal House" by a college troubadour played by Stephen Bishop. A toga-clad John Belushi destroyed his guitar! Keywords/Tags: riddle, medieval, Middle English, young, sister, cherry, stone, dove, bone
gt lexicartis Mar 29
I'm just a beginner,
I love beginnings.
They're fresh, they're inviting
and promise all things exciting.
Beginnings are just right
for variety and spice.

I'm just a beginner,
I love beginnings;
but once past the genesis
in kicks my nemesis,
and as in sets the blight -
I begin to think twice.

I'm just a beginner,
I love beginnings.
If, perchance, by some fiddle
I get near to the
دema Mar 17
whenever this feeling
of uneasiness visits my skin,
i convince the goosebumps
that im just overthinking,
that im not in danger,
that they only show
because warmth is
a foreigner wandering
the premise of my heart,
but when I consult
my heart,
it tells me that this
warmth brings
back memories
of when it
was stone cold,
a feeling that is
now unbearable
to even imagine.
Sumer is icumen in
anonymous Middle English poem, circa 1260 AD
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Summer is a-comin’!
Sing loud, cuckoo!
The seed grows,
The meadow blows,
The woods spring up anew.
Sing, cuckoo!

The ewe bleats for her lamb;
The cows contentedly moo;
The bullock roots,
The billy-goat poots ...
Sing merrily, cuckoo!

Cuckoo, cuckoo,
You sing so well, cuckoo!
Never stop, until you're through!

Sing now cuckoo! Sing, cuckoo!
Sing, cuckoo! Sing now cuckoo!

***

Keywords/Tags: Middle English, medieval, reading, rota, round, partsong, summer, cuckoo, sing, cuckold, seed, meadow, woods, ewe, lamb, cows, bullock, goat, billy-goat, poot, ****, pass gas, never stop

These notes were taken from the poem's Wikipedia page ...

"Sumer Is Icumen In" (also called the Summer Canon and the Cuckoo Song) is a medieval English round or rota of the mid-13th century. The title translates approximately to "Summer Has Come In" or "Summer Has Arrived". The song is composed in the Wessex dialect of Middle English. Although the composer's identity is unknown today, it may have been W. de Wycombe. The manuscript in which it is preserved was copied between 1261 and 1264. This rota is the oldest known musical composition featuring six-part polyphony. It is sometimes called the Reading Rota because the earliest known copy of the composition, a manuscript written in mensural notation, was found at Reading Abbey; it was probably not drafted there, however (Millett 2004). The British Library now retains this manuscript (Millett 2003a). A rota is a type of round, which in turn is a kind of partsong. To perform the round, one singer begins the song, and a second starts singing the beginning again just as the first got to the point marked with the red cross in the first figure below. The length between the start and the cross corresponds to the modern notion of a bar, and the main verse comprises six phrases spread over twelve such bars. In addition, there are two lines marked "Pes", two bars each, that are meant to be sung together repeatedly underneath the main verse. These instructions are included (in Latin) in the manuscript itself:

"Hanc rota cantare possum quatuor socii. A paucio/ribus autem quam a tribus uel saltem duobus non debet/ dici preter eos qui dicunt pedem. Canitur autem sic. Tacen/tibus ceteris unus inchoat *** hiis qui tenent pedem. Et *** uenerit/ ad primam notam post crucem, inchoat alius, et sic de ceteris./ Singuli de uero repausent ad pausacionis scriptas et/non alibi, spacio unius longe note."

(Four companions can sing this round. But it should not be sung by fewer than three, or at the very least, two in addition to those who sing the pes. This is how it is sung. While all the others are silent, one person begins at the same time as those who sing the ground. And when he comes to the first note after the cross [which marks the end of the first two bars], another singer is to begin, and thus for the others. Each shall observe the written rests for the space of one long note [triplet], but not elsewhere.)

The lyric may have been composed by W. de Wycombe, also identified as W de Wyc, Willelmus de Winchecumbe, Willelmo de Winchecumbe or William of Winchcomb. He appears to have been a secular scribe and precentor employed for about four years at the priory of Leominster in Herefordshire during the 1270s. He is also thought to have been a sub-deacon of the cathedral priory as listed in the Worcester Annals or possibly a monk at St Andrew's in Worcester. But it is not know if he composed the song, or merely preserved it by copying it.
Ich have y-don al myn youth
anonymous Middle English lyric, circa the 13th to 14th century AD
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I have done it all my youth:
Often, often, and often!
I have loved long and yearned zealously ...
And oh what grief it has brought me!

*

Original Middle English text:

Ich have y-don al myn youth,
Oftë, ofte, and ofte;
Longe y-loved and yerne y-beden –
Ful dere it is y-bought!

Keywords/Tags: Middle English, translation, medieval, rhyme, lament, complaint, youth, love, loved, longing, longed, grief, oft, often, zeal, zealous, zealously, desire, lust, passion, yearn, yearned, yearning, dear, dearly bought, purchased, cost, price, expense, expensive
Ech day me comëth tydinges thre
(anonymous Middle English lyric, circa the 13th to 14th century AD)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Each day I’m plagued by three doles,
These gargantuan weights on my soul:
First, that I must somehow exit this fen.
Second, that I cannot know when.
And yet it’s the third that torments me so,
Because there’s no way to know where the hell I will go!

Ech day me comëth tydinges thre,
For wel swithë sore ben he:
The on is that Ich shal hennë,
That other that Ich not whennë,
The thriddë is my mestë carë,
That Ich not whider Ich shal farë.

Keywords/Tags: Middle English, rhyme, medieval, epigram, lament, complaint, weight, soul, burden, burdened, heaviness, plague, plagued, exit, death, manner, fen, torment, hell, when, where, how, why
Whan the turuf is thy tour
anonymous Middle English poem, circa the 13th century AD
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

When the turf is your tower
and the pit is your bower,
your pale white skin and throat
only sullen worms shall note.
What help unto you, then
was all your worldly hope?

*

Original Middle English text:

Whan the turuf is thy tour,
And thy pit is thy bour,
Thy fel and thy whitë throtë
Shullen wormës to notë.
What helpëth thee thennë
Al the worildë wennë?

“Whan the turuf is thy tour” may be one of the oldest carpe diem (“seize the day”) poems in the English language, and an ancestor of Andrew Marvell’s “To His Coy Mistress” with its virginity-destroying worms. Keywords/Tags: Middle English, translation, medieval, anonymous, rhyme, rhyming, medieval, lament, complaint, lamentation, turf, tower, pit, bower, skin, throat, worms, note, help, worldly, hope
This World's Joy
anonymous Middle English poem, circa 1300
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Winter awakens all my care
as leafless trees grow bare.
For now my sighs are fraught
whenever it enters my thought:
regarding this world's joy,
how everything comes to naught.

[MS. Harl. 2253. f. 49r]

Original Middle English text:

Wynter wakeneth al my care,
Nou this leves waxeth bare.
Ofte y sike ant mourne sare
When hit cometh in my thoht
Of this worldes joie, hou hit goth al to noht.

“This World’s Joy” or “Wynter wakeneth al my care” is one of the earliest surviving winter poems in English literature and an early rhyming poem as well.  Edward Bliss Reed dated the poem to around 1310, around 30 years before the birth of Geoffrey Chaucer, and said it was thought to have been composed in Leominster, Herefordshire. I elected to translate the first stanza as a poem in its own right. Keywords/Tags: Middle English, translation, anonymous, rhyme, rhyming, medieval, lament, lamentation, care, cares, sighs, winter, trees, leafless, bare, barren, barrenness, emptiness, isolation, alienation, joy, joys
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