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Spleen
by Paul Verlaine
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The roses were so very red;
The ivy, impossibly black.

Dear, with a mere a turn of your head,
My despair’s flooded back!

The sky was too gentle, too blue;
The sea, far too windswept and green.

Yet I always imagined―or knew―
I’d again feel your spleen.

Now I'm tired of the glossy waxed holly,
Of the shimmering boxwood too,

Of the meadowland’s endless folly,
When all things, alas, lead to you!

Paul-Marie Verlaine (1844-1896) was a French poet and a prominent figure in the Symbolist and Decadent poetry movements. Verlaine has been called "one of the most purely lyrical of French poets."  Keywords/Tags: Verlaine, French, translation, spleen, roses, ivy, despair, sky, sea, blue, green, red, black, holly, boxwood
Il pleure dans mon coeur (“It rains in my heart”)
by Paul Verlaine
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

It rains in my heart
As it rains on the town;
Heavy languor and dark
Drenches my heart.

Oh, the sweet-sounding rain
Cleansing pavements and roofs!
For my listless heart's pain
The pure song of the rain!

Still it rains without reason
In my overcast heart.
Can it be there's no treason?
That this grief's without reason?

As my heart floods with pain,
Lacking hatred, or love,
I've no way to explain
Such bewildering pain!

Published by Better Than Starbucks

Paul-Marie Verlaine (1844-1896) was a French poet and a prominent figure in the Symbolist and Decadent poetry movements. Verlaine has been called "one of the most purely lyrical of French poets."  Keywords/Tags: Verlaine, French, translation, rain, languor, heart, treason, reason, pain, hatred, love
...if it works,
then I am a Genius?
If it doesn't...
then what good is,
a -Dead Genius?


<a beautiful crow>

<beautiful crow>

crowe
33'
If my memory serves, Satan dear
I once went to Hell for a year
Attempted in vain
To find love with Verlaine
And now that’s all done, I’m a seer!
Dreams of Sepia Jul 2015
For Rembrandt, love of my life.

Rimbaud,
were you next door
with Verlaine
or in a bar
or in a church
when the tables
were turned by
an invisible hand
against us
my heart was snatched
from our star
& stuffed down
a chimney stack
full of eyes &
knock knocking
on a door & a cry
as a pistol shot
rang out in sepia
do you believe
in women made of paper
folded into dancers
for suit-clad spiders
by doses of poison
if so hold this song
between your fingers
say a prayer
or just curse science
or the shadows
of a trashed childhood
any in memoriam
will do right now
when I still love you.
Here are berries, leaves, twigs and blossoms fair,
And here, my heart that for you alone beats.
Clasp it in your pale hands and please do not tear,
But see it as a gift, to your pretty eyes sweet.

I come to you covered with dew and sap,
Which the morning’s wind freezes on my forehead.
Bear me, in my fatigue, to lie in your lap,
Dreaming of pleasures to restore me from the dead

On your young ***** let my head rest,
My body still sated with your last kiss;
Let my mind dwindle after such a tempest
And I’ll sleep a little beside you in bliss.
Your soul is a choice, bucolic scene
With charming travellers in a masquerade
Playing the lute and dancing, yet seem
Sad beneath their fanciful charade.

All carouse in a minor key
Of victorious love and opportunity,
They seem not to believe in their delight
And their song mingles with the moonlight,

In the still moonlight, beautiful and blue,
Birds in the trees dream and sigh by
Elegant fountains among marble statues,
And the cascades in their ecstasy cry.
Translation of one of Verlaine's most famous poems and the inspiration for one of Debussey's celebrated piano suites.
As the voice of a dead man might sing
From the depths of his tomb,
For you, Mistress, my tuneless voice rings
False in my heart’s catacomb.

Open your soul and hear the knell
Of my mandolin strings:
This song I wrote, for you, which tells
Of cruel and childish things.

I will sing of your eyes, onyx and gold,
Purged of every shadow,
Then the Lethe of your breast, the cold
Styx of your hair’s dark flow.

As the voice of a dead man might sing
From the depths of his tomb,
For you, Mistress, my tuneless voice rings
False in my heart’s catacomb.

Then I will praise, above all
Flesh that heaven did bless
Whose opulent perfumes recall
Nights long and sleepless.

Finally, I will speak of the kiss
Of your sweet red lip,
Oh, how my martyrdom is bliss,
– My angel! – My Whip!

Open your soul and hear the knell
Of my mandolin strings:
This song I wrote, for you, which tells
Of cruel and childish things.
A translation of Paul Verlaine's Sérénade from his collection 'Poèmes saturniens'.
The rosy-green flight
Of hills and ramps
Blurred in twilight
By a soft lamp

Golden valleys darken
Red in the breeze
Small birds harken
In headless trees

The sadness fades
In my mind’s medium
These autumn shades  
Shatter the sky’s tedium
Translation of Bruxelles – Simples Fresques I by the French poet Paul Verlaine.

— The End —