The voyage

O death, old sea-captain, it is time, let us sail!
In this country we’re bored, o death, let’s sail away!
If the sky and the sea are deep and dark as ink,
Our hearts, and you know them, are full of gleaming rays!

Pour poison in our cups, we’ll drink it and rejoice!
For as the fire sears across our brains, we crave
The plunge in the abysse, Heaven or Hell, who cares?
We’ll find the depths unknown now that we heard their voice!

Sometimes when I can’t sleep, I translate poetry in my head. After a couple of minutes I really can’t sleep at all. Oh well…

This is the last part of Baudelaire’s The Voyage. I’ve kept the alexandrines (the twelve-syllable verse of French poetry), as I can’t adjust to the rhythms of English poetry enough to write in them. Especially not while I’m fighting the heat and the mosquitoes at midnight in my bed. It’s probably not the best translation around, but isn’t the poem beautiful all the same?


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