L' Ecritoire

Location: Sacramento, California

I am a retired lawyer and administrative law judge, aged but active, with a variety of interests.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Poem by Francois Villon


Tell me where, in what country,
is the lovely Roman, Flora?
Archipiada? Thaïs, her cousin?
And Echo, speaking when one
called out over pond or stream,
and whose beauty was more than human?
Indeed, where are the snows of yesteryear?

Where is the very wise Héloïse,
because of whom Pierre Abelard was gelded
and became a monk at Saint-Denis?
(For his love he suffered this.)
Yes, and where is the queen
who ordered that Buridan
be thrown in a sack in the Seine?
Indeed, where are the snows of yesteryear?

The queen, white as a lily,
who sang in a siren's voice?
And Bertha of the outsized feet?
And Beatrice and Alice?
And Haremburgis, Countess of Maine?
And good Joan of Lorraine,
burned by the English at Rouen?
Where are they?
Where, sovereign Virgin?
Indeed, where are the snows of yesteryear?

Prince, you won't ask me where they are
this week, or in a year,
that I won't throw it back to you:
Indeed, where are the snows of yesteryear?

François Villon
(Translation by James M. Moose)

Friday, November 12, 2004

Cycle North Carolina 2004

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Moonlight and Roses (poem)

Moonlight and Roses

One day in late October
1945, in fire-bombed Yokohama,
in Occupied Japan,

I heard the sounds of joy -
loud whistling and applause -
and so I stopped and parked

my jeep and walked into a
theater, packed to overflowing
with American G I s.

The tenor Lanny Ross held sway,
now ended his performance
by singing us his theme, a song

well known to every one
of us: "Moonlight and Roses"
(bring memories of you).

Odysseus prayed for death,
so sick for home was he,
malign Poseidon’s prey.

We were far from that estate,
but the song’s effect was sharp:
our vaulting voices stilled -
and tears were shed in plenty.

James M. Moose