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Don Juan in Hell

When Don Juan went down to the underground sea
And when he had given his coin to Charon,
That old beggar, proud as Antisthenes
With vengeful arms set the sea churning
With sullen oars set the sea churning

Displaying their breasts through their flimsy white frocks
Women writhed underneath the black heavens
And, like a herd of sacrificial cattle
They followed behind him moaning
They trailed behind him moaning

His old valet, laughing, demanded his pay
While Don Luis his aged hands shaking
Showed to the dead wandering on the shores
The bold son who mocked his voice breaking
Who mocked his white beard and voice breaking

Now shivering with grief, chaste Elvira
Near the treacherous spouse once her lover
Seemed to beseech him for one final smile
As sweet as the one he first gave her
As sweet as the one he first gave her

A statue, erect in his armor
Stands at the helm the night parting
But the calm hero, leaning upon his sword
Stares into the wake and deigns to see aught
Stares into the wake and deigns to see aught

[See original here.]

Can we smother the ancient Remorse
That squirms and prods and pokes
And feeds on us like a worm on a corpse
Like the beetle on the oak?
Can we smother the relentless Remorse?

In what potion, in what brew, what wine
Can we drown this old irritant,
Destructive and greedy as the concubine,
As patient as the ant?
In what potion, in what brew, what wine?

Say it, beautiful witch, if you know,
In this age filled with gloom
Tell the dying man crushed below
The fleeing horse’s shoe
Say it, beautiful witch, if you know,

This tortured man the wolf already tracks
The wolf who follows the raven,
Tell this broken soldier! Must he go black
A tomb his only haven?
This poor dying man the wolf already tracks.

Can you even brighten a sky that’s so dark?
Can we tear through the shadows?
Denser than pitch, admitting no spark
No evening star or afterglow
Can you brighten sky so dark?

Hope shone through the windows of the Inn
But now has it sputtered and died
Now without even a pale moon to shine
We wander a cursed countryside
The Devil has darkened the lights of the Inn!

Adorable witch, do you love the damned?
Are you in league with the unrepentant?
Do you steady the wavering hand
That aims at our hearts venomous darts?
Adorable witch, are you in love with the damned?

The Irreparable gnaws with cursed tooth
Our being, such a futile monument,
Like a termite devouring from cellar to roof
Until we collapse in debasement.
The Irreparable gnaws with cursed tooth.

II

I used to see, when attending some theater show
The stage enflamed by the orchestral blare,
A fairy light in a sky with fire aglow
A dawn miraculous and rare
I used to see, when attending some theater show

A being, light, golden, and gauze
Overwhelming a Demon cruel and great
My poor heart, that never from trouble withdraws
Is the theater where I await
Always, always in vain, this creature with wings of gauze!

See original here.

Cupid is perched on the skull
Of humanity
Roosting like an infidel
Laughing brazenly

He gaily blows bubbles around
They softly ascend in the sky
Seeking out new celestial ground
In the by and by

Each frail and luminous bubble
Rides an astral stream
Then bursts and ejects its spindly soul
Like a golden dream

With each bubble the skull exclaims
Please to me attend
Oh, This fierce, ridiculous game
When will it ever end?

For what your bestial hole
Scatters in the wind
Is my blood, you murderous troll
My body and my mind!

See original here.

Any man who calls himself so
Has in his heart a yellow serpent
Installed as on a throne discontent
When man says “I want,” Snake says “No!”

Plunge into the eyes transfixed
Of Satyr or Nix
The snake says “Remember your duty!”

Plant a garden, have a brood
Polish verse or carve wood
Snake asks “is this your last night among beauty?”

Whether or not he pays the piper
Man does not pass a single morning
Without suffering the flickering warning
Of the unendurable viper

It is bitter and sweet, on winter nights,
To listen, by a fire that smokes and throbs
While distant memories take gentle flight
To the sound of chimes singing in the fog

Blessed bell of vigorous throat
Hale and alert, despite your great age
You humbly cry out in sanctified notes
Like an old soldier who camps in the sage

But my soul is cracked, and when she longs
To fill the cold night air with her songs
More often than not her voice is thin
Like the death rattle of a wounded man

Lying in blood, under a mound of dead
Who dies, without stirring, in a pang of dread.

See original here.

The time has come when trembling on its bough
Every flower fumes its scent;
Sounds and smells twist the evening firmament;
Melancholy waltz and languorous vertigo!

Every flower fumes its scent;
The violin shakes like a heart full of woe;
Melancholy waltz and languorous vertigo!
The sky is sad and fine like an enshrinement.

The violin shakes like a heart full of woe;
A tender heart that hates the void, black and spent!
The sky is sad and fine like an enshrinement.
The sun has drowned in its blood, thick and slow

A tender heart that hates the void, black and spent!
The lustrous past gathers up every echo!
The sun has drowned in its blood, thick and slow
Your memory glitters in me resplendent!

Here comes the time when trembling on its bough
Every flower fumes its scent
Sounds and smell twist the evening firmament
Waltz melancholic and languorous vertigo

Every flower fumes its scent
The violin shudders like a heart full of woe
Waltz melancholic and languorous vertigo
The sky is sad and lovely like an enshrinement

The violin shudders like a heart full of woe
A tender heart that hates the void, black and spent
The sky is sad and lovely like an enshrinement
The sun has drowned in its congealing gore

A tender heart that hates the void, black and spent
The luminous past gathers up every spoor
The sun has drowned in its congealing gore
Your memory glitters in me resplendent

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