Saturday, May 03, 2008

IN RESPONSE TO MY ILSA*'S POSTING OF HER POEM IN SPANISH, I too am posting a poem of my own. In French not Spanish. And she wrote hers but I didn't write this. Baudelaire did. I don't write anymore. My kinda guy, this Baudelaire. He was, after all, a Poe booster. From his "Fleurs de mal" or "Flowers of Evil":
  • "Quand le ciel bas et lourd pèse comme un couvercle
  • Sur l'esprit gémissant en proie aux longs ennuis,
  • Et que de l'horizon embrassant tout le cercle
  • II nous verse un jour noir plus triste que les nuits;
  • Quand la terre est changée en un cachot humide,
  • Où l'Espérance, comme une chauve-souris,
  • S'en va battant les murs de son aile timide
  • Et se cognant la tête à des plafonds pourris;
  • Quand la pluie étalant ses immenses traînées
  • D'une vaste prison imite les barreaux,
  • Et qu'un peuple muet d'infâmes araignées
  • Vient tendre ses filets au fond de nos cerveaux,
  • Des cloches tout à coup sautent avec furie
  • Et lancent vers le ciel un affreux hurlement,
  • Ainsi que des esprits errants et sans patrie
  • Qui se mettent à geindre opiniâtrement.
  • — Et de longs corbillards, sans tambours ni musique,
  • Défilent lentement dans mon âme; l'Espoir,
  • Vaincu, pleure, et l'Angoisse atroce, despotique,
  • Sur mon crâne incliné plante son drapeau noir."
Want some help? Probably my favourite translation is from 1936 by my good bud Edna St. Vincent Millay:
  • "When the low, heavy sky weighs like the giant lid
  • Of a great pot upon the spirit crushed by care,
  • And from the whole horizon encircling us is shed
  • A day blacker than night, and thicker with despair;
  • When Earth becomes a dungeon, where the timid bat
  • Called Confidence, against the damp and slippery walls
  • Goes beating his blind wings, goes feebly bumping at
  • The rotted, moldy ceiling, and the plaster falls;
  • When, dark and dropping straight, the long lines of the rain
  • Like prison-bars outside the window cage us in;
  • And silently, about the caught and helpless brain,
  • We feel the spider walk, and test the web, and spin;
  • Then all the bells at once ring out in furious clang,
  • Bombarding heaven with howling, horrible to hear,
  • Like lost and wandering souls, that whine in shrill harangue
  • Their obstinate complaints to an unlistening ear.
  • — And a long line of hearses, with neither dirge nor drums,
  • Begins to cross my soul. Weeping, with steps that lag,
  • Hope walks in chains; and Anguish, after long wars, becomes
  • Tyrant at last, and plants on me his inky flag."

1 comment:

Ms. Henrietta Hudson said...

ah, baudelaire. the great poet of moral decay. i love it. awesome post, baby.