Destruction

A poem by Charles Baudelaire

The Fiend is at my side without a rest;
He swirls around me like a subtle breeze;
I swallow him, and burning fills my breast,
And calls me to desire's shameful needs.

Knowing my love of Art, he may select
A woman's form - most perfect, most corrupt
And under sanctimonious pretext
Bring to my lips the potion of her lust.

Thus does he lead me, far from sight of God,
Broken and gasping, out into the broad
And wasted plains of Ennui, deep and still,

Then throws before my staring eyes some gowns
And bloody garments stained by open wounds,
And dripping engines of Destruction's will!

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