I want this poem to live here tonight. Baudelaire’s estate and heirs can find me if they care/dare. This bit is my go-to when reflecting on the beautiful and the mad souls I’ve had the privilege of knowing. Goodnight, C.
THE MOON, who is caprice itself, looked through the window while you were sleeping in your cradle, and said to herself: ‘I like this child.’
And softly she decended her staircase of clouds and, noislessly, passed through the window-panes. Then she stretched herself out over you with the supple tenderness of a mother, and laid down her colors on your face. Ever since, the pupils of your eyes have remained green and your cheeks unusually pale. It was while comtemplating this vistor that your eyes became so strangely enlarged; and she clasped your neck so tenderly that you have retained for ever the desire to weep.
However, in the expansion of her joy, the Moon filled the whole room with phosphorescent vapour, like a luminous poison; and all the living light thought and said: ‘You shall suffer for ever the influence of my kiss. You shall be beautiful in my fashion. You shall love that which I love and that which loves me: water, clouds, silence and the night; the immense green sea; the formless and multiform streams; the place where you shall not be; the lover whom you shall not know; flowers of monstrous shape; perfumes that cause delirium; cats that shudder, swoon and curl up on pianos and groan like women, with a voice that is hoarse and gentle!
‘And you shall be loved by my lovers, courted by my courtiers. You shall be the queen of all men that have green eyes, whose necks also I have clasped in my nocturnal caresses; of those who love the sea, the sea that is immense, tumultuous and green, the formless and multiform streams, the place where they are not, the woman whom they do not know, sinister flowers that resemble the censers of a strange religion, perfumes that confound the will; and the savage and voluptuous animals which are the emblems of their dementia.’
And that, my dear, cursed, spoiled child, is why I am now lying at your feet, seeking in all your person the reflection of the formidable divinity, of the foreknowing godmother, the poisoning wet-nurse of all the lunatics.