The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Wednesday

Voyage to Cythera
By Charles Baudelaire
Translated By Rachel Hadas

Free as a bird and joyfully my heart
Soared up among the rigging, in and out;
Under a cloudless sky the ship rolled on
Like an angel drunk with brilliant sun.

"That dark, grim island there--which would that be?"
"Cythera," we're told, "the legendary isle
Old bachelors tell stories of and smile.
There's really not much to it, you can see."

O place of many a mystic sacrament!
Archaic Aphrodite's splendid shade
Lingers above your waters like a scent
Infusing spirits with an amorous mood.

Worshipped from of old by every nation,
Myrtle-green isle, where each new bud discloses
Sighs of souls in loving adoration
Breathing like incense from a bank of roses

Or like a dove roo-cooing endlessly . . .
No; Cythera was a poor infertile rock,
A stony desert harrowed by the shriek
Of gulls. And yet there was something to see:

This was no temple deep in flowers and trees
With a young priestess moving to and fro,
Her body heated by a secret glow,
Her robe half-opening to every breeze;

But coasting nearer, close enough to land
To scatter flocks of birds as we passed by,
We saw a tall cypress-shaped thing at hand--
A triple gibbet black against the sky.

Ferocious birds, each perched on its own meal,
Were madly tearing at the thing that hung
And ripened; each, its filthy beak a drill,
Made little bleeding holes to root among.

The eyes were hollowed. Heavy guts cascading
Flowed like water halfway down the thighs;
The torturers, though gorged on these vile joys,
Had also put their beaks to use castrating

The corpse. A pack of dogs beneath its feet,
Their muzzles lifted, whirled and snapped and gnawed;
One bigger beast amidst this jealous lot
Looked like an executioner with his guard.

O Cytherean, child of this fair clime,
Silently you suffered these attacks,
Paying the penalty for whatever acts
Of infamy had kept you from a tomb.

Grotesquely dangling, somehow you brought on--
Violent as vomit rising from the chest,
Strong as a river bilious to taste--
A flow of sufferings I'd thought long gone.

Confronted with such dear remembered freight,
Poor devil, now it was my turn to feel
A panther's slavering jaws, a beak's cruel drill--
Once it was my flesh they loved to eat.

The sky was lovely, and the sea divine,
but something thick and binding like a shroud
Wrapped my heart in layers of black and blood;
Henceforth this allegory would be mine.

O Venus! On your isle what did I see
But my own image on the gallows tree?
O God, give me the strength to contemplate
My own heart, my own body without hate!


I am being gnawed by M&C bunnies that I know are OOC even by movie standards and probably utterly preposterous by book standards. The question is, do I write them anyway, or do I read the books and try to write something more logical, but risking the chance that the intensity of these bunnies will fade and I won't particularly want to write in the fandom anymore?

Had a weird experience this morning. Started reading a bit of fic written by someone who's writing I've generally enjoyed, and found myself simply too embarrassed to continue. It was like when one of your friends, not your really good friends but someone you don't know quite that well, starts telling you a way-TMI story about her sex life, and you just want to go hide somewhere because you did not want to know this about her. Except that in this case it was really nothing new -- not the writer, not even the events of the story, as it was an OTP does it for the first time, again type thing. I wonder what caused that? Maybe because it was RPS? Though I still stumble across that by certain writers and read it and am quite happy before I remember that I don't read it anymore.

Have decided I am in love with both soundtracks of yesterday and cannot choose between them. What's scary is that at this moment I feel the same way about both fandoms, though I suspect that LOTR in the end will have made a far more lasting impression on my pysche. It's very odd though. I wonder why, when so many people in fandom are serial monogamists, I'm such a collector of pairings, and yet I can't do the pair-everyone-up-with-anyone thing at all?

My sister and her family are coming for Thanksgiving and staying at my parents' but I don't know when they will be arriving, so I have no idea of my schedule for the next two days. Hope everyone who is traveling stays safe and has a great time!

Gerbil update for the morning: they have completely gnawed apart the treehouse, leaving only the wire that held it together, which they are still gnawing as if there's any point to that. With the shredded remains of the treehouse they have built a deluxe-sized woodsy-looking nest, and shoved a huge quantity of pine shavings out of the cage to make room for this. Meanwhile Cinnamon, my smaller cat, keeps trying to leap on the cage, but since she makes a loud breeping noise right before she jumps on anything, I always know when she is about to do this and can run in the kitchen and squirt her with a water gun. So there is water and pine shavings all over my kitchen. I suppose it's still cleaner than Moria.

Aragorn attempts escape! And Boromir tries to talk him out of it, pointing out the joys of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese boxes.

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