Charles Baudelaire – Evening Harmony – Harmonie du soir

Click on image to enlarge

Click on image to enlarge

My translation of a fantabulous poem by Charles Baudelaire, taken from his Les Fleurs du mal (1857). The poem is written according to an unusual structure known as a pantoum, which apparently originated in Malaysia.

The illustration of the poem is from at least twelve years ago.

Evening Harmony

Now is the time; on their stems gently wheeling,
The flowers, like censers, dissolve in the air,
Embalming the evening with perfume and prayer;
Desolate waltzes and languorous reeling!

The flowers, like censers, dissolve in the air;
Violins wail like a heart that wants healing;
Desolate waltzes and languorous reeling!
The sky’s like an altar, both mournful and fair.

Violins wail like a heart that wants healing,
A soft heart that shrinks from the void’s endless stare!
The sky’s like an altar, both mournful and fair;
The sun has now drowned in its blood that’s congealing.

A soft heart that shrinks from the void’s endless stare,
Of the radiant past each last vestige is stealing!
The sun has now drowned in its blood that’s congealing…
Your memory as in a monstrance I bear!

*************************************************

Harmonie du soir

Voici venir les temps où vibrant sur sa tige
Chaque fleur s’évapore ainsi qu’un encensoir;
Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l’air du soir;
Valse mélancolique et langoureux vertige!

Chaque fleur s’évapore ainsi qu’un encensoir;
Le violon frémit comme un coeur qu’on afflige;
Valse mélancolique et langoureux vertige!
Le ciel est triste et beau comme un grand reposoir.

Le violon frémit comme un coeur qu’on afflige,
Un coeur tendre, qui hait le néant vaste et noir!
Le ciel est triste et beau comme un grand reposoir;
Le soleil s’est noyé dans son sang qui se fige.

Un coeur tendre, qui hait le néant vaste et noir,
Du passé lumineux recueille tout vestige!
Le soleil s’est noyé dans son sang qui se fige…
Ton souvenir en moi luit comme un ostensoir!

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