The Swan II
Paris may change- my spleen- no way!
Shiny new palaces, add-ons, blocks,
All for me become allegory
Making for memories heavier than rocks.
Again, before this Louvre, the thing recurs-
I see my poor swan, hear its useless prayers
And think of the heart of every exile
Endlessly gnawed by longing. And, of you
Andromache- beside his yet-empty tomb
Passed from the arms of a brave man
To his slayer's son's, and on to those of Helenus:
Once the wife of Hector, now his brother's.
I think of the Black, feverish and poor,
Rocking in the sand, staring tired-eyed
Toward the shores of a savage Africa
Where things come all at once to unruly fruition
And of all who've lost what can never return.
Who banquet on tears
Who suckle the breasts of Despair
And wane like flowers watered with salt-rain.
Thrilled in its wood, my soul hears
Gone memories ring like clarions;
I think of sailors stranded on isles,
Of prisoners, of homeless, and others, still.
from the French of Baudelaire
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