Allegory

A poem by Charles Baudelaire

Picture a beauty, shoulders rich and fine,
Letting her long hair trail into her wine.
Talons of love, the poison tooth of sin
Slip and are dulled against her granite skin.
She laughs at Death and flouts Debauchery;
Those fiends who in their heavy pleasantries
Gouge and destroy, still keep a strange regard
For majesty - her body strong and hard.
A goddess, or a sultan's regal wife
A faithful Paynim of voluptuous life
Her eyes call mortal beings to the charms
Of ready breasts, between her open arms.
She feels, she knows - this maid, this barren girl
By our desire fit to move the world
The gift of body's beauty is sublime
And draws forgiveness out of every crime.
She knows no Hell, or any afterlife,
And when her time shall come to face the Night
She'll meet Death like a newborn, face to face
In innocence - with neither guilt nor hate.

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