“Duellem” (The Duel)
by Charles Baudelaire
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
Two combatants charged!
Their fearsome swords
brightened the air with fiery sparks and blood.
Their clashing blades
clinked odd serenades
reminding us: youth’s inspired by overloud love.
But now their blades lie broken, like our hearts!
Still, our savage teeth and talon-like fingernails
can do more damage than the deadliest sword
when lovers lash about with such natural flails.
In a deep ravine haunted by lynxes and panthers,
our heroes roll around in a cozy embrace,
leaving their blood to redden the colorless branches.
This abyss is pure hell; our friends occupy the place.
Come, let us roll likewise here, cruel Amazon,
let our hatred’s ardor never be over and done!
Keywords/Tags: Baudelaire, translation, French, duel, combatants, duelists, swords, sparks, blood, blades, hearts, teeth, blood, talons, lynxes, panthers, abyss, hell, Amazon, hatred, ardor, furor, passion, fury, anger