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“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

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