Translation of Baudelaire's Le Poison

… that I read on May 2nd’s SpokenWord. Emmanuelle read the original in French and I read my own translation in English. Both texts below. It was a lot of fun playing with different words and phrasing.

Wine decks the most sordid shack

In gaudy luxury,

Conjures more than one fabulous portal

In the gold of its red vapour,

Like a sun setting in a nebulous sky


That which has no limits, with opium is yet more vast,

It reels out the infinite longer still,

Sinks depths of time and sensual delight.

Opium pours in doleful pleasures

That fill the soul beyond its capacity


So much for all that, it is not worth the poison

Contained in your eyes, your green eyes,

They are lakes where my soul shivers and sees itself overturned.

My dreams crowd in

To quench these bitter gulfs


So much for all that, it cannot surpass the terrible wonder

Of your saliva that bites,

It plunges my remorseless soul into oblivion

And rolls in like waves of vertigo,

Faltering, on the shores of death


Le Poison by Baudelaire

Le vin sait revêtir le plus sordide bouge
D’un luxe miraculeux,
Et fait surgir plus d’un portique fabuleux
Dans l’or de sa vapeur rouge,
Comme un soleil couchant dans un ciel nébuleux.

L’opium agrandit ce qui n’a pas de bornes,
Allonge l’illimité,
Approfondit le temps, creuse la volupté,
Et de plaisirs noirs et mornes
Remplit l’âme au delà de sa capacité.

Tout cela ne vaut pas le poison qui découle
De tes yeux, de tes yeux verts,
Lacs où mon âme tremble et se voit à l’envers…
Mes songes viennent en foule
Pour se désaltérer à ces gouffres amers.

Tout cela ne vaut pas le terrible prodige
De ta salive qui mord,
Qui plonge dans l’oubli mon âme sans remord
s,
Et charriant le vertige,
La roule défaillante aux rives de la mort!

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