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Mar 2020
Le Balcon (“The Balcony”)
by Charles Baudelaire
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Paramour of memory, ultimate mistress,
source of all pleasure, my only desire;
how can I forget your ecstatic caresses,
the warmth of your ******* by the roaring fire,
paramour of memory, ultimate mistress?

Each night illumined by the burning coals
we lay together where the rose-fragrance clings—
how soft your *******, how tender your soul!
Ah, and we said imperishable things,
each night illumined by the burning coals.

How beautiful the sunsets these sultry days,
deep space so profound, beyond life’s brief floods ...
then, when I kissed you, my queen, in a daze,
I thought I breathed the bright bouquet of  your blood
as beautiful as sunsets these sultry days.

Night thickens around us like a wall;
in the deepening darkness our irises meet.
I drink your breath, ah! poisonous yet sweet!,
as with fraternal hands I massage your feet
while night thickens around us like a wall.

I have mastered the sweet but difficult art
of happiness here, with my head in your lap,
finding pure joy in your body, your heart;
because you’re the queen of my present and past
I have mastered love’s sweet but difficult art.

O vows! O perfumes! O infinite kisses!
Can these be reborn from a gulf we can’t sound
as suns reappear, as if heaven misses
their light when they sink into seas dark, profound?
O vows! O perfumes! O infinite kisses!



The Perfect Courtesan
by Michael R. Burch

after Baudelaire, for the courtesans

She received me into her cavities,
indulging my darkest depravities
with such trembling longing, I felt her need ...

Such was the dalliance to which we agreed—
she, my high rider;
I, her wild steed.

She surrendered her all and revealed to me—
the willing handmaiden, delighted to please,
the Perfect Courtesan of Ecstasy.

Keywords/Tags: Baudelaire, translation, French, balcony, paramour, memory, mistress, desire, caresses, fire, coals, rose, *******, night, breath, feet, lap, body, heart, vows, perfumes, kisses, gulf, suns, heaven, light, seas
Written by
Michael R Burch  62/M/Nashville, Tennessee
(62/M/Nashville, Tennessee)   
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