Blog Poetry

The Flask By Charles Pierre Baudelaire

HERE are some powerful odours that can pass

Out of the stoppard flagon; even glass

To them is porous. Oft when some old box

Brought from the East is opened and the locks

And hinges creak and cry; or in a press

In some deserted house, where the sharp stress

Of odours old and dusty fills the brain;

An ancient flask is brought to light again,

And forth the ghosts of long-dead odours creep.

There, softly trembling in the shadows, sleep

A thousand thoughts, funereal chrysalides,

Phantoms of old the folding darkness hides,

Who make faint flutterings as their wings unfold,

Rose-washed and azure-tinted, shot with gold.

A memory that brings languor flutters here:

The fainting eyelids droop, and giddy Fear

Thrusts with both hands the soul towards the pit

Where, like a Lazarus from his winding-sheet,

Arises from the gulf of sleep a ghost

Of an old passion, long since loved and lost.

So I, when vanished from man’s memory

Deep in some dark and sombre chest I lie,

An empty flagon they have cast aside,

Broken and soiled, the dust upon my pride,

Will be your shroud, beloved pestilence!

The witness of your might and virulence,

Sweet poison mixed by angels; bitter cup

Of life and death my heart has drunken up!

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