melting & burning


Correspondences – Baudelaire
January 1, 2014, 7:32 pm
Filed under: poem | Tags: , ,

La Nature est un temple où de vivants piliers
Laissent parfois sortir de confuses paroles;
L’homme y passe à travers des forêts de symboles
Qui l’observent avec des regards familiers.
Comme de longs échos qui de loin se confondent
Dans une ténébreuse et profonde unité,
Vaste comme la nuit et comme la clarté,
Les parfums, les couleurs et les sons se répondent.
II est des parfums frais comme des chairs d’enfants,
Doux comme les hautbois, verts comme les prairies,
— Et d’autres, corrompus, riches et triomphants,
Ayant l’expansion des choses infinies,
Comme l’ambre, le musc, le benjoin et l’encens,
Qui chantent les transports de l’esprit et des sens.

(1852-6)

 

Nature is a temple where living pillars
Let sometimes emerge confused words;
Man crosses it through forests of symbols
Which watch him with intimate eyes.
Like those deep echoes that meet from afar
In a dark and profound harmony,
As vast as night and clarity,
So perfumes, colors, tones answer each other.
There are perfumes fresh as children’s flesh,
Soft as oboes, green as meadows,
And others, corrupted, rich, triumphant,
Possessing the diffusion of infinite things,
Like amber, musk, incense and aromatic resin,
Chanting the ecstasies of spirit and senses.

— Geoffrey Wagner, Selected Poems of Charles Baudelaire (NY: Grove Press, 1974)

Advertisements


Prose poems – Baudelaire
December 4, 2011, 6:40 am
Filed under: poem | Tags: , ,

You must always be intoxicated.
That sums it all up: it’s the only question.
In order not to feel the horrible burden of Time which breaks your back and bends you down to earth, you must be unremittingly intoxicated.
But on what? Wine, poetry, virtue, as you please.

But never be sober.
And if it should chance that sometimes, on the steps of a palace, on the green grass of a ditch, in the bleak solitude of your room, you wake up and your intoxication has already diminished or disappeared, ask the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock, ask everything that flees, everything that groans, everything that rolls, everything that sings, everything that speaks, ask them what time it is and the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock, will reply: It’s time to be intoxicated!

If you do not wish to be one of the tortured slaves of Time, never be sober; never ever be sober! Use wine, poetry, or virtue, as you please.



The Cat – Baudelaire
February 15, 2011, 10:21 pm
Filed under: poem | Tags: ,

Viens, mon beau chat, sur mon coeur amoureux;
Retiens les griffes de ta patte,
Et laisse-moi plonger dans tes beaux yeux,
Meles de metal et d’agate.

Lorsque mes doigts caressent a loisir
Ta tete et ton dos elastique,
Et que ma main s’enivre du plaisir
De palper ton corps electrique,

Je vois ma femme en esprit. Son regard,
Comme le tien, aimable bete
Profond et froid, coupe et fend comme un dard,

Et, des pieds jusques a la tete,
Un air subtil, un dangereux parfum

Come, superb cat, to my amorous heart;
Hold back the talons of your paws,
Let me gaze into your beautiful eyes
Of metal and agate.

When my fingers leisurely caress you,
Your head and your elastic back,
And when my hand tingles with the pleasure
Of feeling your electric body,

In spirit I see my woman. Her gaze
Like your own, amiable beast,
Profound and cold, cuts and cleaves like a dart,

And, from her head down to her feet,
A subtle air, a dangerous perfume
Floats about her dusky body.

Translation William Aggeler