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Archive for the ‘Flowers of Evil’ Category

Translated by Troy Martin

Who arranged the dressing table
Placed the various bottles in their glorious array?
The portraits turned their eyes unable,
Positioned as they are to ever look away.

The room is still and damp and fatal
And ends in darkness past the barely open door.
Tulips brown-tipped droop and wait like the
Water in the vase could evaporate and they’ll absorb no more.

In the bed the linens soaked in red
The pillow’s crease as empty as Christ’s tomb.
And the sun is spared the curtains block the glare
And loose the shadows in the room.

Oh the head is on the nightstand
By its folded reading glasses and
An unlit lead-glass lamp with gold-leaf orchid blooms

And what of the decapitated body
Lying naked, incomplete, inert and all alone?
Posed, it lies meticulously shoddy
As if tossed aside by children tired of games with sticks and stones.

One stocking torn and hanging off the mattress
The other limply grips the skin of the left leg below the knee.
A cross hung on a gold-braid necklace
Dangles tangled in her hand a bribe, a disregarded plea.

The endless days in studied disarray
Forever frozen, now routine.
Rejoicing unseen demons
Seem as real as objects placed inside the scene.

Yet a flicker of defiance
Lingers in one open eye it’s
Unextinguished by some rashly fashioned guillotine.

Was her spirit freed when racked with boredom,
Boredom-driven to divine forbidding ways?
Did demons tempt her did she ignore them?
Was she rebuking hypocrites as she was betrayed?

And what foul murderer discharged this sentence?
A lover scorned by righteous words to earthly deeds?
Beastial impulse and defied repentance.
When the work was done did he fulfill his needs?

Answer tortured dead, horrific head!
Smile, wave your arm and say goodbye
To the filthy living so-and-so-s. As sinners gawk and pray
You rest, we’ll cry.

For that sweet ruler of your afterworld
Made you his eternal lover,
And you’re a haloed vision of the blessed way to die.

[Original poem here.]

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Translated by Bradley Grant Smith

From that dark and twisted sky
As bleak as what is yet to be
Descend into your empty life
What thoughts? Playboy, answer me!

I love to live where its dark and unstable
I’ll not whine like Ovid, chased from some happy fable

And your dark, red rays reflect
The Hell my heart has come to expect
Loves and respects

[Hear the music here.]

[Original poem here.]

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In an ashen land, without leaf of green
To the charred terrain I unburdened my spleen
I carelessly wandered at my heart’s request
As I honed my grievances against my breast

When at brightest day my head was plowed
into by a sodden stormcloud
And accosted by the villains inside
Some gang of trolls on a drunken hell ride

They considered me coldly and gave me the once-
over, like I was the village dunce
Furtively laughing and whispering
Trading winks and toothless grins

– “Let’s leisurely contemplate this lampoon
This would-be Hamlet, this slouching buffoon
His irresolute gaze and his discomfited hair
Such a pitiful sight, this old Devil-may-care

This tramp, this out-of-work clown, this wit
He sure knows his role and how thick to lay it
Trying to seduce, with his gripes and his pains
Eagles, crickets, –the sea! and the rain!

And even to us, who schooled him in this hokum
He belches his diatribes–Don’t you just want to choke him!?” –

My pride is as high as the mountains, it’s true
I could have stared down that cloud and it’s crew
With a simple turn of my sovereign face
If I’d not next seen in that mob’s embrace

The peerless queen of my only heart
As the sun looked on without a start
She laughed with with them at my dark distresses
Without a pause in her lustful caresses

–Translated by Chris Schoen

[See original poem here.]

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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.

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