evening twilight

Here is pleasant evening, the criminal’s friend;
it comes stealthily like an accomplice with a wolf’s tread;
the sky closes slowly like a huge alcove,
and impatient man is changed to a wild beast.

O evening, sweet evening, longed for by the man
whose arms can say without deceit:
To-day we have worked! – It is evening
that relieves minds consumed by savage grief,
the scholar whose brow grows heavy
and the bent workman returning to his bed.
Meanwhile foul demons in the atmosphere
awaken heavily like business men and, flying,
knock against the shutters and the porch.

Through the lights flickering in the wind
Prostitution begins to flare in the streets;
like an ant-heap it opens its doors;
everywhere it traces a secret path
like an enemy attempting a surprise;
it moves in the bosom of the filthy city
like a worm stealing man’s food.
Here and there you can hear kitchens hiss,
theaters yelp and orchestras snore;
the cheap eating-houses, whose delight is gambling,
are filled with whores and sharks, their accomplices,
and the robbers, who know neither truce nor mercy,
they too are soon going to begin their work,
and gently force open doors and
coffers to live a few days and clothe their mistresses.

Recollect yourself, my soul, at this solemn moment,
and shut your ear to the roar.
It is the hour when the pains of the sick grow worse!
Dark Night takes them by the throat;
they end their life and go towards the common abyss;
the hospital is filled with their sighs. – More than one
will come no more to seek his fragrant soup,
in the evening, by the fireside beside a soul he loves.

Moreover, most of them have never known
home’s sweetness and have never lived!

Charles Baudelaire

Advertisements

get drunk

You must always be drunk. Everything is there: it is the only question.
Not to feel the horrible burden of Time breaking your shoulders and
bowing you towards the ground, you must get drunk without stopping.

But on what? On wine, on poetry, or on virtue, after your fashion. But get drunk.
And if sometimes, on the steps of a palace, in the green grass of a ditch,
in the dreary solitude of your own room, you wake up,
with your drunkenness already lessened or gone,
ask wind, wave, star, bird, clock,
everything that flees, murmurs, rolls, sings, speaks,
ask what time it is;
and wind, wave, star, bird, clock will answer you:
,,It is time to get drunk! Not to be the tormented slaves of Time,
get drunk without stopping!
On wine, on poetry, or on virtue, after your fashion.’’

Charles Baudelaire

sorrows of the moon

The moon tonight dreams vacantly, as if
She were a beauty cushioned at her rest
Who strokes with wandering hand her lifting
Nipples, and the contour of her breasts;

Lying as if for love, glazed by the soft
Luxurious avalanche, dying in swoons,
She turns her eyes to visions—clouds aloft
Billowing hugely, blossoming in blue.

When sometimes from her stupefying calm
On to this earth she drops a furtive tear
Pale as an opal, iridescent, rare,

The poet, sleepless watchman, is the one
To take it up within his hollowed palm
And in his heart to hide it from the sun.

Charles Baudelaire

memories

My youth was just a dark hurricane
passed through here and there by brilliant suns;
the lightning and the rain wreaked so much havoc,
that few vermilion fruits were left in my garden.

Charles Baudelaire

sympathetic horror

When the sky appears in pain
and sunset no more than a wound,
what are the thoughts that occur
to a libertine soul like yours?

– Nothing can slake my thirst
for the nameless and the obscure:
you’ll never hear me complain
like Ovid whining for Rome,

The canyons of bloody cloud
accommodate my pride,
their nebulous shapes become

a splendid hearse for my dreams,
their red glow the reflection
of the Hell where my heart’s at home.

Charles Baudelaire

L’invitation au voyage

My sister, my child
Imagine how sweet
To live there as lovers do!
To kiss as we choose
To love and to die
In that land resembling you!
The misty suns
Of shifting skies
To my spirit are as dear
As the evasions
Of your eyes
That shine behind their tears.

There, all is order and leisure,
Luxury, beauty, and pleasure.

The tables would glow
With the luster of years
To ornament our room.
The rarest of blooms
Would mingle their scents
With amber’s vague perfume.
The ceilings, rich
The mirrors, deep—
The splendour of the East—
All whisper there
To the silent soul
Her sweet familiar speech.

There, all is order and leisure,
Luxury, beauty, and pleasure.

And these canals*
Bear ships at rest,
Although in a wandering mood;
To gratify
Your least desire
They have sailed around the world.
The setting suns
En robe the fields
The canals, the entire town
With hyacinth, gold;
The world falls asleep
In a warmly glowing gown.

There, all is order and leisure,
Luxury, beauty, and pleasure.

Charles Baudelaire

music

Music often takes me like a sea
and I set out
under mist or a transparent sky
for my pale star;

I run before the wind as if I had
laid on full sail,
climbing the mountainous backs of the waves,
plummeting down

in darkness, eardrums throbbing as I feel
the coming wreck;
fair winds or foul – a raging storm

on the great deep my cradle,
and dead calm the looking-glass
of my despair.

Charles Baudelaire