De profundis clamavi

J'implore ta pitié, Toi, l'unique que j'aime,
Du fond du gouffre obscur où mon coeur est tombé.
C'est un univers morne à l'horizon plombé,
Où nagent dans la nuit l'horreur et le blasphème;
Un soleil sans chaleur plane au-dessus six mois,
Et les six autres mois la nuit couvre la terre;
C'est un pays plus nu que la terre polaire
— Ni bêtes, ni ruisseaux, ni verdure, ni bois!
Or il n'est pas d'horreur au monde qui surpasse
La froide cruauté de ce soleil de glace
Et cette immense nuit semblable au vieux Chaos;
Je jalouse le sort des plus vils animaux
Qui peuvent se plonger dans un sommeil stupide,
Tant l'écheveau du temps lentement se dévide!
— Charles Baudelaire


I remember the Fleurs du Mal as an old friend, since I spent some of my first scared days in Balliol, fresh up from Corby in my third floor room, translating them to keep calm, along with the odd prayer. I'm dead tired and in the depths of a huge amount of work right now, as I always seem to be at this time of year; but I thought that I'd post Charles' poem as a reminder of a younger self. Onward and upward.

Comments

Toni said…
"I remember the Fleurs du Mal as an old friend, since I spent some of my first scared days in Balliol," is the gayest sentence ever.
Martin Meenagh said…
No, I've come up with worse. Get you, sweetheart :D

Anyway, I like potery, me. I was scared and I was self-educated and I grabbed at anything that meshed with my mad and pretentious idea of what culture was. Now, I can relax with Marvel Essentials, but well, you know--then I hadn't the sense.

I'm feeling a bit melancholy Toni. Effectively working 5am-2am at the minute, but I'll be free next week. Hope all is well with you.
Martin Meenagh said…
and I owe Baudelaire for a poem about le cheval du vin that vies with Yeats' 'Embroidered cloths of heaven' as a twentysomething 'I'm deep' poem for the ladies. I spent some happy nights having worked out what romantic poetry is for and memorised them, coordinated with a faraway look. Beats a Mickey Finn in the shot glass, anyway.

These days, my tastes go more to the slightly bored-over the hill sort; Geoffrey Hill, that sort of thing.
Toni said…
I am fine, thanks for asking. What is with the madcap hours. I must admit I have been scorned for reading Dickens and Shakespeare on the train in the past. I can't help it - I love Tale of Two Cities and King Lear.
Toni said…
The Only Baudelaire I have read is, predictably, Le Joueur Genereaux and as I can't speak French, or any other European languages I read a translation.
Martin Meenagh said…
A Tale of Two Cities is one of my favourite books. Sidney Carlton and Rick from Casablanca have a good bit in common, I think....

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