Afternoon Song

A poem by Charles Baudelaire

Though your eyebrows surprise,
and give you an air of strangeness,
which isn’t that of the angels,
witch with seductive eyes,

I adore my frivolous girl,
my terrible passion,
with the devotion
of a priest for his idol!

The forest and the desert
perfume your wild hair:
your head has an air
of the enigma, the secret.

Round your flesh, perfume sweet
swirls like a censer’s cloud:
you bewitch like the twilight’s shroud,
nymph of shadows and heat.

Ah! The strongest potions made
can’t match your idleness,
and you know the caress
that resurrects the dead.

Your hips are enamoured
of your back and your breasts,
and the cushions are ravished
with your poses, so languid.

Sometimes to appease
your rage, mysteriously,
you lavish, gravely
your bites and your kisses.

You tear me, my dark-haired one,
with a mocking smile’s art,
and then cast on my heart
your gaze sweet as the moon.

Under your shoes so satiny,
your graceful silken feet,
I lay my genius, my wit,
my joy, and my destiny,

restorer of my health’s sweetness,
you, all color and light,
explosion of warmth, bright
in my Siberian darkness.

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