When Pleasure Calls (Baudelaire…a banned poem)

“Your head, your stance, your girlish grace…”

When  Pleasure  Calls

Your head, your stance, your girlish grace
Are like a landscape in July,
And laughter flutters round your face
Like a cool breeze in a clear sky.

The gloomy souls you graze in passing
Are ravished by your radiant charms:
The health that from your skin comes leaping,
Your shining shoulders and your arms.

Many a time in languid gardens
To which I dragged my vertigo,
I felt a strange, ecstatic burden:
Sweet sunlight tore my heart in two.

And then came Spring with greening leaf
And made me go all sick and sour,
And this is how I sought relief—
I took it out on some poor flower!

And this is something I now wish:
One night, one night when pleasure calls,
Toward the heaven of your flesh
To steal, and like a craven crawl.

To lacerate your lovely flesh,
Punish your breast and pardon it,
And in your harrowed haunches gash
A gaping wound, a gloating slit

And then at last, ah sweet delight!
Into that mouth made for me new—
All beautiful and sparkling bright—
To spurt my venom into you!


Baudelaire:  À Celle Qui Est Trop Gaie
(One of Baudelaire’s banned poems).
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