Showing posts with label Charles Baudelaire. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Charles Baudelaire. Show all posts

24 March 2023

Translation: Charles Baudelaire Communications

Gustav Klimt, Fir Forest 1, 1901

This is Bora Mici's original translation of the 1857 poem Correspondances or Communications in English by the French 19th century poet Charles Baudelaire. The poem expresses a synesthetic Symbolist vision of the connection between the poet and nature, and nature's ability to communicate with the poet and transport him to a realm where his senses are awakened and begin to dialogue with and become immersed in a natural forest of symbols, which seems familiar but has things to reveal. This poem places the emphasis on connections between the senses and the intellect and that's why I have chosen to translate it as Communications, rather than keeping the original concept of Correspondances, which seems to leave room for the incomplete or unachieved transmission of a coded missive, a parallelism that persists and that constitutes the metaphysics of our experience. It is perhaps to evoke a more contemporary reading of this timeless poem. 

Communications by Charles Baudelaire

Nature is a temple where many a living column
Sometimes muffled words whistles;
Man enters there through forests of symbols
That look upon him familiarly solemn.

Like long echoes that overlap far away
In a homogenous, deep darkness,
Expansive like the night and the brightness,
Aromas, colors, sounds dialogue in the leigh.

The perfumes smell fresh like children’s flesh,
Sweet like oboes, green like meadows,
— Yet others triumphant, rich, enmeshed

Expansive like infinite shadows,
Like amber, resin, incense and musk,
Singing the transports of mind and the senses at dusk.

10 March 2023

Translation: Charles Baudelaire's The Flowing Hair

Odalisque, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1870

This is Bora Mici's original translation of La chevelure or the Flowing Hair in English by the French 19th century poet Charles Baudelaire. Similar to the poem Correspondances or Communications as I have rendered it, this poem describes a synesthetic journey through the poet's many exotic past destinations and his immersion in a head of flowing hair that revives the sensations and imagery he once experienced. The flowing hair is described as an ocean and the poem seems to blend a more Romantic aesthetic of infinity with a more modern Proustian remembrance of things past.  

The Flowing Hair by Charles Baudelaire

Oh mane, foaming like waves to the clavicle
Oh curls! Oh perfume vapors of insouciance!
Ecstasy! Tonight to fill the dark alcove magical
With memories sleeping in these locks that are navigable
I’d wave them, a handkerchief, in the great expanse!

Asia the languid and Africa that burns,
A faraway world, absent almost gone,
Dwells in your depths, aromatic ferns!
Like other souls surf on melodious turns,
Mine oh my love! swims in your perfume alone.

I’ll go where trees and men, full of verve
Swoon at length in the burning hazes;
Mighty locks, become the tides that swerve
Sea of onyx, shimmering dreams you conserve
Of sails, rowers, masts and blazes.

A busy port where my soul might drink
In big gulps perfumes sounds and colors
Where the vessels glide toward the golden brink
Open wide their arms to welcome the glint
Of a pure sky where the trembling heat gathers.

I’ll sink my head with love astray
In this dark ocean that encloses another;
And my subtle spirit caressed by the sway
Will find you, oh fertile, lazy day,
Endlessly cradling, a leisurely balmy cover.

Blue hair, a tent of darkness splayed
An immense dome you make the blue sky seem,
On the fuzzy edges of your strands displayed
I passionately become drunk on the scents arrayed
Of coconut oil, musk and tar supreme.

At length! always! in your heavy mane my hand
Will plant rubies, pearls and sapphires,
So that you never buck to my demand!
Are you not the oasis where I dream, and the land
Where I avidly inhale the wine my past perspires.

06 July 2018

Translation: Charles Baudelaire's Beauty

Maxfield Parrish, Contentment, 1927

I am fair, oh mortals! like a stoney dream,
And my breast, where each has been bruised shard by shard, 
Is made to inspire a love in the bard
Eternal and mute like matter serene.

I reign in the sky like a quizzical sphinx
Marrying a snow heart with the swan’s white;
I loath movement in the lines however slight,
Never in tears or laughter do I sink.

Poets, in the face of my grandiose airs,
which I seem to borrow from the proudest marvels
Will consume their days in austere study snares;

For I have, to fascinate these sheepish lovers, 
Pure mirrors, which render all more fair and tender:
My eyes, my large eyes of eternal splendor.

31 May 2016

Translation: Charles Baudelaire Hymn to Beauty

Xavier Fabre, The Judgement of Paris, 1808

Do you rise from the deep sky or the abyss,
Oh Beauty? your gaze, infernal and divine,
Pours both of goodness and of crime,
And for that, we can compare it to wine.

In your eye you contain both dusk and dawn;
You cast your perfumes like a stormy eve;
Your kisses are a potion and your mouth an urn
That turn heroes cowardly and children brave.

Do you rise from the dark chasm or descend from the stars?
Charmed destiny chases after your skirts like a dog;
At random you sow joy and disasters,
And you rule over all and answer for nothing.

You walk over the dead, Beauty, whom you mock;
Of your jewels Horror is not the least charming,
And Murder, among your most dear trinkets,
On your proud belly dances amorously.

The ephemeral moth flies toward you, candle,
Crackles, blazes and says: Let us bless this flame!
The panting lover bent over his belle
Seems like a ghost caressing his tomb.

Whether you come from the sky or from hell, what does it matter,
Oh Beauty! enormous monster, frightening, naive!
If your eye, your smile, your foot open the door
To an Infinity I love and have never known?

From Satan or God, what does it matter? Angel or Siren,
What does it matter, if you make — fairy with velvet eyes,
Rhythm, perfume, sheen, oh my only queen! —
The universe less hideous and the moments lighter?