The Poison

A poem by Charles Baudelaire

Wine can clothe the most sordid hole
in miraculous luxury,
and let many a fabulous portico float free
in the gold of its red glow,
like a setting sun in the sky’s cloudy sea.

Opium expands things without boundaries,
extends the limitless,
makes time profounder, deepens voluptuousness,
fills the soul beyond its capacities,
with the pleasures of gloom and of darkness.

None of that equals the poison that flows
from your eyes, your eyes of green,
lakes where, mirrored, my trembling soul is seen…
my dreams come flocking, a host,
to quench their thirst in the bitter stream.

None of that equals the dreadful marvel though
of your saliva’s venom,
that plunges my soul, remorseless, into oblivion,
and causing vertigo,
rolls it swooning towards the shores of doom!

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