“The Jewels” by Charles Baudelaire

My darling read my heart, for she left on

Only her chains and bracelets and her beads,

The powerful regalia of one

Who knows the way a potentate is pleased.

A glimpse of Paradise in beaten gold

Whose tantalizing music leaves me stunned,

For I am often easily beguiled

When subtle lights and sounds are intertwined.

She lay back on the couch, smiled down at me,

And soon allowed herself to be adored;

She saw my love advancing like the sea,

A gentle tide against her palisade.

Submissive as a tiger, she made sure

My eyes devoured every careless pose;

Such open, all-encompassing desire

Gave added charm to every one she chose.

As if, all arm and leg and gleaming thigh,

As sinuous and splendid as a swan,

Her body swam beyond my tranquil eye,

All breast and belly, clustered on my vine,

Forbidden fruit thrust forward to dispel

My sovereign repose and peace of mind,

Dislodging from its crystal citadel

My unencumbered heart, my upper hand.

Urn-shaped, she tapered sharply at the hip,

Enchanting as a goddess, or a sphinx,

Though slender as a boy. Painted lips,

Proud, powdered Moorish limbs … magnificent!

Slowly the lamp gave up, resigned to die,

And steady-pulsing embers lit the scene.

The hearth let out a long flamboyant sigh,

As through the amber flesh the blood rushed in.

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