The Cracked Bell

A poem by Charles Baudelaire

How bittersweet it is on winter nights
To hear old recollections raise themselves
Around the flickering fire's wisps of light
And through the mist, in voices of the bells.

Blessed is the bell of clear and virile throat
Alert and dignified despite his rust,
Who faithfully repeats religion's notes
As an old soldier keeps a watchman's trust.

My spirit, though, is cracked; when as she can
She chants to fill the cool night's emptiness,
Too often can her weakening voice be said

To sound the rattle of a wounded man
Beside a bloody pool, stacked with the dead,
Who cannot budge, and dies in fierce distress!

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