Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Les Fleurs du mal first published June 1857
Among the vermin, jackals, panthers, lice,
gorillas and tarantulas that suck
and snatch and scratch and defecate and fuck
in the disorderly circus of our vice,
there's one more ugly and abortive birth.
It makes no gestures, never beats its breast,
yet it would murder for a moment's rest,
and willingly annihilate the earth.
It's BOREDOM. Tears have glued its eyes together.
You know it well, my Reader. This obscene
beast chain-smokes yawning for the guillotine -
you - hypocrite Reader - my double - my brother!
translated by Robert Lowell
for better or worse, this was one of the beginnings, the second shot fired in the modernist war of the worlds. the painters had gotten there before him(& he saw that)but he picked up their gauntlet & ran w/it. we're eleven years away from verlaine's first poems & a few more before rimbaud came along & exploded whatever was left after baudelaire's first charge.
leaves of grass had been published in 1855. that was the first shot.