the ship

The ship perfumed with garlands of roses,
whose cedar side shines in the sun,
has slipped over the waves far from dreary shores,
and it is noon above land and sea.

Above the forests of shining elms and above the sands
it is noon! The ship creaks and trembles in the winds,
and man holds out his arms to the immortal skies,
and the land is alive, and the skies are alive!

They spread the golden sail; its shadow is radiant;
far away the dark oaks and the green lemon-trees
dwindle on the shore, and the thunderous wave
interrupts the sailors’ song with its din:

,,Farewell, white lakes, oaks, torrents, valleys,
caves full of streams and closed by rocks!
We ride on seas veiled by mists,
for die land is barren and the gods are hidden.

You left the East, O light; you have drunk
so many oceans, climbed so many mountains,
that great age has soiled your bright face;
we see you no more, O light, and we love you.

We bent the iron of coulters into anchors;
the old wind of the furrows blew in the sail;
we carried away the springs in goat-skins;
the ship is swollen with the com of nine harvests,

Over there the other sun appears in fertile skies;
we shall bring it back in our sinewy arms;
we shall scatter towns on the islands of the sea
to the thunder of lutes and fiery trumpets !’’

The prow is a pile of roses; on the poop the men,
who carried fate in their hearts, eat;
the sun sank in their cup and sleep turned
them to stone carved above the board.

Only the pilot watches and bright Diana,
whose lovely silver car cleaves the night air,
holding over them her quivering torch,
guides the sleeping crew, floating upon the sea.

Emmanuel Signoret

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elegy II

At the Tivoli cemetery

The marble colonnade shines against the sky:
a light band of reddish bees wanders
on the flowering cypresses collecting dark honey:
the spring, where many a ghost sits quenching its thirst on living water,
joins its new-born waves to the light.
When the star garlanded with lilies is risen,
Diana of the white veils, her eye shut beneath her garland,
let the murmuring breeze of the stream enclose you!
We shall put torches in the hands of the shepherds,
we shall say to them: ,,Pour forth rich light in torrents
on the paths! Enough souls are dead! …
Go! Break down the doors of the joyless house!
Man’s eye has the charming colours of the sky,
the perfumed limbs of children are flowers where,
with the gods’ pollen, the real man bears fruit!
From tombs broken open gushes the dawn of life!”

Emmanuel Signoret

there is weeping in my heart …

It rains gently on the town.
Arthur Rimbaud

There is weeping in my heart
as it rains on the town.
What languor is this
that pierces my heart?

O gentle noise of the rain
on the ground and the roofs!
For a heart that is troubled,
O the song of the rain!

There is no cause for weeping
in this sickened heart.
What! No treason?
This sorrow has no cause.

Indeed, it is the worst grief
not to know why,
without love or hate,
my heart has so much grief.

Paul Verlaine

scherzo

Smiles, flowers, kisses, and essences
perfume the wind of my nights
after such insipid boredom,
after such dreary absences!

Light up my fantasy,
strew my ideal path and
pour me your ambrosia, lingering glances,
lilies, lips, and sandalwood!

    • *

For I know nothing of decrepit love
and eyes unsealed,
since the gold still blazes
in silky tufts on your white neck.

And yet, my proud friend,
it was a long time ago, wasn’t it?
that, weary of loving, you went to sleep
in my arms one morning.

    • *

It is not carnal things
that make your charm unequaled,
that keep those same
sunbeams in your pupils.

For carnal things die or wither
in fresh air.
But your beauties always remain
within their spiritual halo.

    • *

It is no longer the time for jealous tenderness
nor for false oaths.
Tell me nothing of my mistresses;
I do not count your lovers.

    • *

For you, wandering comet,
often loitering on your path,
letting your fair hair float
in the superhuman ether,

What do a few pale stars matter
in my reason’s troubled sky,
when at long intervals you come
to close my horizon round?

    • *

I do not want to know what poles
your mad orbit left behind it;
give me your breasts and shoulders;
let me kiss them, and that is enough.

Charles Cros

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

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

floridum mare

The harvest overflowing the multi-colored plain rolls,
undulates, and unfurls in the cool wind cradling it;
and the profile of some harrow on the distant sky
seems like a ship pitching and raising a dark bowsprit.

And beneath my feet the sea, right to the purple west,
sky-blue or pink or violet or ultramarine or
the white horses scattered by the ebb,
becomes infinitely green, like a huge meadow.

The gulls, too, following the flood,
flew in whirlwinds with joyful cries
towards the ripe com swollen by a golden tide;

While from the land a honeyed breeze spread
flights of butterflies over the flowery ocean
after the desire of their winged ecstasy.

José-Maria de Heredia