Poems and Baudelaire Flowers/Obsession

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Poems and Baudelaire Flowers
by Charles Baudelaire, translated by John Collings Squire


Great woods! like mighty fanes you frighten me,
You howl like the organ; in our cursed souls,
Grey grief-chambers where old death-rattles be,
Your many-echoing “De profundis” rolls.

I hate thee, Ocean! for my spirit is torn
With tumults like thine own; a laugh has birth,
Like a beaten man’s, full of all tears and scorn
And bitterness, within the sea’s vast mirth.

Ah! how I love thee, Night, when not a star
Speaks with known tongue of light through the dark air;
For lo! I seek the void, the black, the bare;

Yet even darkest depths but curtains are
Where live, shot from my eye, innumerable
Lost forms and faces that I know too well.