Translated from the French
by Lasha Darkmoon
[LD] The poem is ostensibly about a cat. In actual fact, it is about Baudelaire’s dusky mulatto mistress, Jeanne Duval, a feline beauty with whom the French poet remained totally obsessed for roughly 20 years. He is said to have loved his half-French half-Haitian mistress more than any other woman in his life, apart from his mother who always came first.