The Irremediable

A poem by Charles Baudelaire

I.

A Being, a Form, an Idea
Having fallen from out of the blue
Into the Stygian slough
Where no eye of the sky ever sees;

An impetuous Angel, allured
By the love of the twisted and mean,
In the depths of a nightmarish dream
Like a swimmer who struggles for shore,

Contending in wretched distress
With a whirlpool that swivels along
Singing a madman's song,
Performing its dark pirouettes;

A bewildered man, miserably
Attempting a groping escape
Out of a place full of snakes,
Lacking the lamp and the key;

A damned soul fumbling down steps
Of an infinite stair without rails
At the edge of a gulf, with a smell
Betraying the clammy depths,

Where monsters watch below,
Whose eyeballs' glowing light
Makes blacker still the night
Themselves are all they show;

An iced-in polar ship
Seized in a vice of glass,
Searching the fatal path
Of this imprisoning trip;

Pure emblems, a perfect tableau
Of an irremediable evil,
Which makes us think that the Devil
Does well what he chooses to do!


II.

It's a face-to-face sombre and clear
When a heart gives its own image back!
Well of Verity, limpid and black,
Where trembles a ghastly star,

An ironic beacon, from Hell,
Torch of Satanical graces,
And a glory in consolation,
Evil aware of itself!

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