by charles baudelaire
no rage, no rancor: i shall beat you
as butchers fell an ox,
as moses smote the rock in horeb-
i shall make you weep,
and by the waters of affliction
my desert will be slaked.
my desire, that hope has made monstrous,
will frolic in your tears
as a ship tosses on the ocean-
in my besotted heart
your adorable sobs will echo
like an ecstatic drum.
for i – am i not a dissonance
in the divine accord,
because of the greedy irony
which infiltrates my soul?
i hear it in my voice – that shrillness,
that poison in my blood!
i am the sinister gl*ss in which
the fury sees herself!
i am the knife and the wound it deals,
i am the slap and the cheek,
i am the wheel and the broken limbs,
hangman and victim both!
i am the vampire at my own veins,
one of the great lost horde
doomed for the rest of my time, and beyond,
‘to laugh – and smile no more’
(taken from les fleurs du mal, translated by richard howard)