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Beacons Analysis

Author: poem of Charles Baudelaire Type: poem Views: 7

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Reubens, river of forgetfulness, garden of sloth,

Pillow of wet flesh that one cannot love,

But where life throngs and seethes without cease

Like the air in the sky and the water in the sea.

Leonardo da Vinci, sinister mirror,

Where these charming angels with sweet smiles

Charged with mystery, appear in shadows

Of glaciers and pines that close off the country.

Rembrandt, sad hospital full of murmurs

Decorated only with a crucifix,

Where tearful prayers arise from filth

And a ray of winter light crosses brusquely.

Michelangelo, a wasteland where one sees Hercules

Mingling with Christ, and rising in a straight line

Powerful phantoms that in the twilight

Tear their shrouds with stretching fingers.

Rage of a boxer, impudence of a faun,

You who gather together the beauty of the boor,

Your big heart swelling with pride at man defective and yellow,

Puget, melancholy emperor of the poor.

Watteau, this carnival of illustrious hearts

Like butterflies, errant and flamboyant,

In the cool decor, with delicate lightning in the chandeliers

Crossing the madness of the twirling ball.

Goya, nightmare of unknown things,

Fetuses roasting on the spit,

Harridans in the mirror and naked children

Tempting demons by loosening their stockings.

Delacroix, haunted lake of blood and evil angels,

Shaded by evergreen forests of dark firs,

Where, under a grieving sky, strange fanfares

Pass, like a gasping breath of Weber.

These curses, these blasphemies, these moans,

These ecstasies, these tears, these cries of "Te Deum"

Are an echo reiterated in a thousand mazes;

It is for mortal hearts a divine opium!

It is a cry repeated by a thousand sentinels,

An order returned by a thousand megaphones,

A beacon lighting a thousand citadels

A summons to hunters lost in the wide woods.

For truly, O Lord, what better testimony

Can we give to our dignity

Than this burning sob that rolls from age to age

And comes to die on the shore of Your eternity?

Translated by William A. Sigler

Submitted by Ryan McGuire


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