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 glass 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)
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