Versions of Baudelaire

by Robert Anbian and William Howe


BAUD04.01 and RIFT04.01 are copyright (c) 1995. See below for full notice. Click here for EPC HOTLIST

Translations by Robert Anbian


It is Death which consoles, alas! and Death which makes us live;
It is the goal of life, and the only hope,
which rises like an elixir to our heads and intoxicates us,
and gives us enough heart to walk until evening;

Through the storm and snow, the hoarfrost,
it is the quivering splendor on our black horizon;
It is the famous hotel written of in the book,
where one can eat, and sleep, and sit down;

It is an angel who holds sleep in its magnetic fingers,
and the gift of ecstatic dreams, and who makes up
the bed of the poor and the naked.

It is the poor man's purse, and his old country,
glory of the gods and mystical granary,
it is the portico leading to unknown Skies!


Today space itself is splendid!
Without a bit, without spurs, without reins,
we ride off mounted on wine
toward an enchanted and godlike sky!

Like two angels suffering
an implacable tropic fever,
we follow through the blue crystal
that is morning the distant mirage!

Indolently balanced on the wing
of an intelligent whirlwind,
in a parallel delirium,

Floating side by side, Sister,
we flee with neither repose nor respite
toward the paradise of my dreams!


The beloved was naked, and knowing my heart,
had retained only her vibrant jewels,
whose pageantry gave to her a rich and conquering air
such as belonged, on langorous days, to Moorish concubines.

This world radiant of metal and rock
ravishes me, and when its bright
and mocking noise leaps in dance, I madly love
those things in which sound is mixed with light.

She lay thus, abandoned to love,
and from the height of the couch, smiled
carelessly at my ardor that rose, deep and fragrant as the sea,
mounting toward her as toward a pale cliff.

Eyeing me like a tamed tiger,
she posed with a vague and dreamy air,
and candor, being joined to shamelessness,
gave fresh charm to all her metamorphoses.

Polished with oil, undulant like a swan,
arm and leg, thigh and loins
passed before my serene and clairvoyant eyes;
while her belly and breasts, fruits of my vine,

Hovered, more seductive than Fallen Angels,
to trouble the repose in which my soul lay,
and to lure it from the crystal rock where,
calm and solitary, it had been enthroned.

I thought I saw the hips of Antiope
joined by a new design to a boyish torso,
so that her figure thrust forth its pelvis--
how superb the rouge on this brown and tawny complexion!

--The lamp had resigned itself to dying.
The hearth alone illuminated the room,
and each time it heaved forth a flaming sigh,
flooded her amber skin with blood!

(from "Fleurs du Mal" one of 6 poems banned by French censors in 1857)


How beautiful the sun when it rises up fresh,
hurling at us its explosive good morning!
--How fortunate the one who can still lovingly salute
its setting, more glorious than a dream!

I remember! I saw everything--flower, spring, furrow--
swoon under its eye, throbbing like a heart . . .
--We ran toward the horizon, already late, running faster,
trying to catch one last oblique ray!

But I chased in vain this god who retreats;
Night, irresistible night, established its empire,
black, humid, fatal, filled with shudders;

Smell of the tomb in the swirling dark,
and my timid foot bruising, at the edge of the swamp,
hidden toads and cold snails...


Be wise, my Pain, and clam yourself.
You were craving dusk, here it is, coming down:
an atmosphere of ash envelops the town,
bringing to some peace, to others their fears.

While of mortals the vile multitude,
under the lashings of Pleasure, that hangman without mercy,
goes gathering remorse in the servile holiday,
give me, my Pain, your hand; come this way,

Far from all of them. Look at the dead Years leaning
in old-fashioned robes out of the balconies of the sky;
From the bottom of the sea, a smiling Regret rises:

The dying Sun slumbers under an arch,
and with her long shroud trailing out of the East,
listen, dear one, listen to the fragrant night walking.

Versions by William Howe

lame art deep ovaries

cyst lame art key console hell ass at quaff it viverine
cyst lab just delia vie attic estes easel esper
kick'em unless excerpt pneumatic noon eye
and now donnel car the marcher tyrannosaur

at raves late in bed a lineage addle giver
cyst lake liar tv brand another werezone nor
cyst faberge' papoose sanscrit surly liver
oil on pour rum anger a dorm room assess ear

cistern anchor tent antsy doily magnet ticks
lesbo meal a ladder derives extra-thick
a key reef at lilith degens poe ray new

sister gloria deader sister grenier must kick
sister borson dupe over a zapata antique
cyst leper tick our surly sioux icon us

leaving diamonds

oozo diary respice esplanade
seismic ore sidestep environs song bird
pardon a shave ulcer leaving
pour on sulfurous a diving

come donkey torture
onum plak cable calendar
don't luv ya crystal dumb acting
souvenir lamer image lion taint

mole amount balling caesar aisle
detour bullion intelligent
dandy lire parole

measure coat acute pageant
nought iron-ons re-pony trivia
verily pair of dice demi reveal

libbi jew

latrine cherri tan ougee consonant monster
ellen ave guard keys bijoux sianora
don't lurch at a rail lewd ointment lure name coor
quaint dance leers your hyrax less clavicles moray

quondam ill jetty dance it son brute wifey mock your
desmond remnant denial at the pier
mare rave it in ex-taxi age omni a life rural
lecherous oily since melee all aluminium

eel stadium pushy easy lassie aimer
a dew hole dew divine solient daze
am in armor pro forma duke only air
quiver ol' mountain commie verses filet

layer fix easier mock o'moon tis redempted
dune or vague at raver ellis ah-yah dep poser
a lack endure enie ale lubrication
donut unction s nerf-ease metamorph oozy

a sun bra e-z jam e-z cuz e-z pain
poli-combi jewel and a loo come on signet
pass a nut deviant may you clairvoyants at sirens
a sudden venture sees signs cess-grapes

say vincent plus cows inns keel orange doom a
port rouble leper woman aim a tit miss
a poor lad ranger door pusher decorative
malcolm at solitaire else a tossy

jay crew voice uni-power new vaudeville dizzy
they haunt yer daily ante up o busty denim barb
tan settle facile resorter so bass in
circ taint five ebb rune leaf erred at it superb

a lull ambassador resigil armor
come leave over soy illumination amber
shot over quill poison in flame boy and super
I'll anoint ate design sit a pew colored amber

lack oucher diesel ramen tick

killer soil elbow contour freeze I'll see leave
come on sexplosion nose lances son bondage
bean hero cellular cupee ave car more
sewer son coach purple glory hole coon rave

jami servants jay view to floor source silo
sapienter sioux son oil come on kick pulpit
cool on verse where eye zone illest tard cool on bite
pour attire peru groin sun orb lick rayon

majik pursues in rain lady cager tyre
lyre rest table newt able son umpire
none humidor funest at plain definitions

an odor the tomb odin lest inebriating
at moon pad puerile cross overboard doom re-cage
these crap odes improvise at the frueds limitations

recoil a mint

sausage u"ma dollar at tent wop lust rarely
tour clamor leisure ill descent leprosy
unite moss fear obscure envelope lava ill
who important lappy oh oh trace lassie

pendant keyed motels lame altitude evil
sioux lie food pleaser see borrows ants messy
race jeweler these ram-rods dance laugh at servile
modular done in my lame in vein parcheesi

loin dew voicey pincher lest defacto anus
surly bacon ducal in robe saurian
sugar fondue deus leer et sure eons

lay soil morbid hound sender weresauce a nark
at come in longing cool train ante lorenz
intend machete instead lovedness newt quim arch

RIF/T: An Electronic Space for Poetry, Prose, and Poetics
Editors: Kenneth Sherwood and Loss Pequeño Glazier
ISSN#: 1070-0072
Version 4.1 Spring 1995

BAUD04.01 and RIFT04.01 copyright (c) 1995. All rights revert to author(s) upon publication. Texts distributed by RIF/T, e-poetry@ubvm, or the Electronic Poetry Center (Buffalo) may not be republished for profit, in any form, without the express consent of author(s) and notification of the editors, but may be freely circulated among individuals for personal use, providing that this copyright statement is included. Public archiving of complete issues only, in electronic or print forms, is permissible, provided that no access fee is charged.

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