Charles Baudelaire: “Sed Non Satiata (Insatiable Lust)”

Sed Non Satiata (Insatiable Lust)

Strange goddess, brown as the hours before dawn,
Perfumed with musk and the scent of Havana,
Work of some priestess, Faust of the savannah,
Witch with ebony hips, midnight’s dark spawn,

I prefer to opium, to night, to every creed,
The medicine of your mouth where love goes raving.
And as I set out for you in my caravan of craving,
Your eyes are the gutter where my sorrow goes to feed.

But pitiless demon!  Pour upon me less coal
From your two great eyes, those black vents of your soul.
I can’t hold your heat like the cold river of the dead.

O unclean fury!  I can’t shake your spell
Or change to a virginal bride of Hell
And lie down with you in your fiery bed.

Charles Baudelaire

Translated from French by Paul Weinfield, © 2013

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