Charles Baudelaire’s “L’Ennemi” (The Enemy) / A poem from “The Flowers of Evil” (French & English)

Rochegrosse - Baudelaire

Fleurs du Mal –  illustration by C. Rochegrosse

L’Ennemi

Ma jeunesse ne fut qu’un ténébreux orage,
Traversé çà et là par de brillants soleils;
Le tonnerre et la pluie ont fait un tel ravage,
Qu’il reste en mon jardin bien peu de fruits vermeils.

Voilà que j’ai touché l’automne des idées,
Et qu’il faut employer la pelle et les râteaux
Pour rassembler à neuf les terres inondées,
Où l’eau creuse des trous grands comme des tombeaux.

Et qui sait si les fleurs nouvelles que je rêve
Trouveront dans ce sol lavé comme une grève
Le mystique aliment qui ferait leur vigueur?

— Ô douleur! ô douleur! Le Temps mange la vie,
Et l’obscur Ennemi qui nous ronge le coeur
Du sang que nous perdons croît et se fortifie!

— Charles Baudelaire

* * * * *

The Enemy

My youth has been nothing but a tenebrous storm,
Pierced now and then by rays of brilliant sunshine;
Thunder and rain have wrought so much havoc
That very few ripe fruits remain in my garden.

I have already reached the autumn of the mind,
And I must set to work with the spade and the rake
To gather back the inundated soil
In which the rain digs holes as big as graves.

And who knows whether the new flowers I dream of
Will find in this earth washed bare like the strand,
The mystic aliment that would give them vigor?

Alas! Alas! Time eats away our lives,
And the hidden Enemy who gnaws at our hearts
Grows by drawing strength from the blood we lose!

— William Aggeler, The Flowers of Evil (Fresno, CA: Academy Library Guild, 1954)

* * * * *

Poets previously published @ Awestruck Wanderer:

4 thoughts on “Charles Baudelaire’s “L’Ennemi” (The Enemy) / A poem from “The Flowers of Evil” (French & English)

  1. Pingback: “Questions From a Worker Who Reads”, a poem by Bertolt Brecht (1898 – 1953) | A W E S T R U C K _W A N D E R E R

  2. Pingback: Versos de Bukowski, Brecht, Baudelaire, Borges, Bishop, Brodsky (pra ficar só no B…) | A CASA DE VIDRO

  3. Pingback: O POEMA CÓSMICO E SEU AUTOR – Notas sobre a poesia de Rabindranath Tagore (1861 – 1941) | A CASA DE VIDRO.COM

  4. Pingback: PRECIOUS POETRY: “The Song of Hiawatha” by Henry Wadsworth LONGFELLOW (1807 – 1882) – A W E S T R U C K _W A N D E R E R

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s