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

passion and the skull

Eros sits on the skull
Of Humanity,
And this infidel enthroned
Laughs shamelessly,

And gaily blows round bubbles
That will fly,
As if to join with worlds
Deep in the sky.

Rising on high, the frail
Luminous globe,
Shatters and bursts its slim soul
Like a dream of gold.

I hear at each bubble, the skull
Moan and contend:
“This callous, ridiculous game,
When will it end?

What you are blowing away
Again and again,
Monster Murderer, is my body
My blood and my brain!”

Charles Baudelaire