Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Le sorcier poétique

Bloody hell, in my musical sadness, I can't believe I almost forgot to post this!

Christians crusade with the Bible.
Muslims jihad with the Qur'an.
Mormons serve up golden plates.
Devil worshipers spill blood to the works of Anton LaVey.
Neocons try and recreate Stalin and Hitler.
Scientologists jump like Tom Cruise.
I pluck Les Fleurs du Mal.

Bonne anniversaire, Charles Baudelaire.

I appreciate you not rising from the grave and carting your crumbling skeleton across the sea to pummel me with Ali-like efficiency, given how often I've been the flâneur strolling through your pages in my unending search for a whiff of that black magical versification. Hey, if Zep can liberally borrow from the great bluesmen, I don't see what's wrong with me doing the same to you, right? Thanks for not suing, but just to be on the safe side, I highly recommend taking a swim in this river:

Le Léthé

Viens sur mon coeur, âme cruelle et sourde,
Tigre adoré, monstre aux airs indolents;
Je veux longtemps plonger mes doigts tremblants
Dans l'épaisseur de ta crinière lourde;

Dans tes jupons remplis de ton parfum
Ensevelir ma tête endolorie,
Et respirer, comme une fleur flétrie,
Le doux relent de mon amour défunt.

Je veux dormir! dormir plutôt que vivre!
Dans un sommeil aussi doux que la mort,
J'étalerai mes baisers sans remords
Sur ton beau corps poli comme le cuivre.

Pour engloutir mes sanglots apaisés
Rien ne me vaut l'abîme de ta couche;
L'oubli puissant habite sur ta bouche,
Et le Léthé coule dans tes baisers.

À mon destin, désormais mon délice,
J'obéirai comme un prédestiné;
Martyr docile, innocent condamné,
Dont la ferveur attise le supplice,

Je sucerai, pour noyer ma rancoeur,
Le népenthès et la bonne ciguë
Aux bouts charmants de cette gorge aiguë
Qui n'a jamais emprisonné de coeur.


Mary Ellen said...

That guy can't write too doesn't even look like English. ;-)

I wish my husband would say something like wanting to sleep rather than live...sleep as warm as death. I'd be happy to oblige him.

fairlane said...

What in the Hell is going on over here?

Where are my Freedom Fries?

To Hell with you Goddamn Commie Bastards.

To Hell, I say!

Freida Bee said...

I don't think Baudelaire would raise from his eternal slumber and strike a zombie pose if you just plopped this on into Babel Fish and gave us a peak at the English. I'm too lazy to do it, and I was thinking for that you could respect my honesty.

Dr. Zaius said...

"The Flowers of Evil?" Cool! But why does that guy want to sleep with a tiger? (They snore, you know!)

Randal Graves said...

ME, at least it wasn't Franglais, which is what I speak. And that was quite a dark thought. Hmmm, I have a piece that you might share an affinity with. I should post it.

fairlane, I'm sorry man, but I am the Manchurian Candidate! Vive la France! Vive Marx! Vive Mao!

FB, as they say, honestliness is next to godlessness! Here you go, fucked up translation (not that I could do THAT much better, but who doesn't love all the weird stuff this program churns out?) courtesy of babelfish:

Come on my heart, cruel and deaf heart, adored Tigre, monster with the indolent airs; I want to a long time plunge my fingers trembling In the thickness of your mane door; In your underskirts filled with your perfume To bury my head endolorie, And to breathe, like a faded flower, the soft one relent of my late love. I want to sleep! to sleep rather than to live! In a sleep as soft as death, I will spread out my kisses without remorse Over your beautiful body polished as copper. To absorb my alleviated sobs Nothing the abyss of your layer is worth me; The powerful lapse of memory lives on your mouth, And Léthé runs in your kisses. With my destiny, from now on my delight, I will obey like one predestined; Flexible, innocent martyr condemned, Whose enthusiasm pokes the torment, I will suck, to drown my rancour, the népenthès and the good conium With the charming ends of this acute throat Which never imprisoned heart.

Here are some better translations/interpretations.

dr. zaius, earplugs, sir! Of course, you still might get clawed to death if they have a bad dream.

pissed off patricia said...

Man, I hate it when you go all French on me.

Dean Wormer said...

He was the original Tickle Me Emo.

Freida Bee said...

Oh Randal, Thank you. I am all agush with frenchly sounding words. I hope I don't get arrested here in public.

I have come to love Baudelaire through you. You're evangelical ploys are working.

Freida Bee said...

(Except the one in which you're trying to stop people from mixing up you're and your.)

Randal Graves said...

POP, je ne vous comprends pas !

dean, ha ha ha, hilariously true!

FB, do I have to get all sweaty like Hagee and Jakes as I strut around the megachurch stage like a Biblical Jagger?

I would laugh at your mixing of you're and your except that I catch myself doing that now and again as well. I have no idea why. Their is simply no reason for that thing they're, you know?

My Inner French Girl said...

He looks like Mr. Roper catching Jack doing some hanky-panky.


dguzman said...

I think you just jacked up your dirty-words score.

Randal Graves said...

marjorie, great, now I'm going to have that theme song in my head the rest of the day. And I think it's a pretty groovy shot. He looks extra evil.

dguzman, even if that's the case, I'll never be able to compete with the filthy mouths of the rest of you!

Mauigirl said...

Thanks for the translation. I wasn't doing too badly with my rusty French but the link you provided to a decent English translation helped a lot!

I always liked Baudelaire's poetry in college...

Randal Graves said...

mauigirl, Wallace Fowlie's translations are really good as well, especially for those like me who are trying to learn the language since his are direct translations; he doesn't try to make them poetical.

And now you can like him again!

Betty C. said...

I'm spending five days in Paris next week and our hotel is near Père Lâchaise. Isn't Baudelaire buried there? If he is, and if I walk by his tomb, I'll think of you.

If he isn't, I'll probably think of you as I walk by any number of other tombs...

Randal Graves said...

Actually, he's buried in Montparnasse, so go see both. ;-)

And I'll take that as a compliment.

Betty C. said...

Well, I doubt I'll turn five days in Paris with three 14-year-olds into a cemetery tour. But as I said, we'll be right next to P.L., and I think any teenager must see Jim Morrison's grave. Apparently, though, it's now strictly guarded and is no longer the pot-smoke-filled cult hangout it was the last I saw it in the 1980s. What a pity!

Randal Graves said...

Yeah, I can't imagine they'd be thrilled to hang out in cemeteries for hours. And even in death, Jim gets the velvet rope. Now that's clout!