Souvenirs

Since a week or two, for a reason or an other, I have Baudelaire’s poem A une passante in my mind.  The verses ” Ô toi que j’eusse aimée, ô toi qui le savais!”/”O you whom I would have loved, O you who knew it!” haunt my mind, like an endless rhapsody.

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I studied this poem when I was in high school and then at university; it’s a classic and you are expected to master all what it contains. But though I was trained to study its structure, its melody, its rhythm, it did not touch my soul. It stayed a pleasant piece of poetry. And now, years later, really like tons of years later, it comes back and pierces my heart with its delicacy.

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“La rue assourdissante autour de moi hurlait.
Longue, mince, en grand deuil, douleur majestueuse,
Une femme passa, d’une main fastueuse
Soulevant, balançant le feston et l’ourlet;”

“The street about me roared with a deafening sound.
Tall, slender, in heavy mourning, majestic grief,
A woman passed, with a glittering hand
Raising, swinging the hem and flounces of her skirt;”

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When I read this poem, I see it in my mind, I feel it in my skin. That long woman, her elegant gestures, her powerful nonchalance. And him, petrified and in an awe in front of so much confidence and beauty, I see him too. I feel his admiration, his fears and that sudden lightyear of passion, of intense love.

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Fireworks in his mind.

“Un éclair… puis la nuit! — Fugitive beauté
Dont le regard m’a fait soudainement renaître,
Ne te verrai-je plus que dans l’éternité?”

“A lightning flash… then night! Fleeting beauty
By whose glance I was suddenly reborn,
Will I see you no more before eternity?”

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But she is already gone, like a curtain of mystery, a delicate perfume, she is the present and already the past.

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“Ailleurs, bien loin d’ici! trop tard! jamais peut-être!
Car j’ignore où tu fuis, tu ne sais où je vais,
Ô toi que j’eusse aimée, ô toi qui le savais!”

“Elsewhere, far, far from here! too late! never perhaps!
For I know not where you fled, you know not where I go,
O you whom I would have loved, O you who knew it!”

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May you all have a blissful and poetic week.

Love,

Carole