Selected Poems


Stephane Mallarme


Towards your brow my soul oh gentle sister,

where there dreams

An autumn strewn with ruddy streaks

And towards the wandering sky of your

angelic eye

Climbs upward, as in a melancholy garden,

Faithful, a white spray of water sighing

towards the sky!

Towards a sky softened by pure and

pale October

That reflects its infinite languor in great

formal pools

And deigns, on the stagnant water where the

tawny agony

Of the leaves wanders with the wind and hollows

out a frigid furrow,

To be drawn away by the tall beam of the

yellow sun.


Charles Baudelaire

Cats Fevered lovers and austere thinkers

Love equally, in their ripe season

Cats powerful and gentle, pride of the house

Like them they feel the cold, like them are sedentary


Friends of science and sensuality

They seek the silence and the horror of the shadows

Erebus had taken them for its funeral coursers

Could they to servitude incline their pride.

Dreaming, they take on noble postures

Great sphinxes stretched out in the depths of emptiness


Seeming to fall asleep into an endless dream.

Their fertile loins are full of magic sparks

And nuggets of gold like fine sand

Vaguely bestar their mystic pupils.


Paul Valery


Since dawn she has been with me, Laura, alone in a private sphere. Solitude I name this closed system where all things are alive. At this first hour I bank neither with my days nor with my nights, but under a quite separate account, all that is about me shares my being there. The walls of my room are a circumscription created by my will. The light of the lamp is a sort of consciousness. The unscribbled sheet before me is clear and populous as a sleeplessness. I brood over my illuminated hands as though they were the pieces of some game of innumerable gambits. The whole complex of every instant is present to my senses.

For Laura to appear, all things must be exactly thus, all must ensure my being ideally alone. Laura demands, as she also inhabits, a silence bristling with expectations, in which at times I become what I am awaiting. She catches the whispering between my daemon and my desire. Her white face is indistinct enough, but not her gaze. What a precision of power!... Wherever my eyes settle, they carry hers with them. And if I close my lids at last, her own are widely raised and asking. The power to question of these eyes transfixes me, and sometimes it happens that I cannot bear their unwavering depth any longer.

Then it is that the too enchanting fragrance of the dress that Laura wore, of the hands and of the hair of the real Laura, the Laura who was flesh, is born again from nothing; it dumbfounds my thinking, mingled or thickened with the bitter perfume of the dead leaves one burns at autumn's end, and I fall heartlong into a magic sadness.