The Flawed Bell

A poem by Charles Baudelaire

It’s bitter, yet sweet, on wintry nights,
near to the fire that crackles and fumes,
listening while, far-off, slow memories rise
to echoing chimes that ring through the gloom.

Lucky indeed, the loud-tongued bell
still hale and hearty despite its age,
repeating its pious call, true and well,
like an old trooper in the sentry’s cage!

My soul is flawed: when, at boredom’s sigh,
it would fill the chill night air with its cry,
it often happens that its voice, enfeebled,

thickens like a wounded man’s death-rattle
by a lake of blood, vast heaps of the dying,
who ends, without moving, despite his trying.

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