Charles Baudelaire

The Blessings of the Moon

The Moon, who is caprice itself, looked through the window while you were sleeping in your crib and she said to herself, “This child pleases me.”

And she descended – softly – her staircase of clouds, and passed without sound through the panes. Then she expanded over you with the supple tenderness of a mother, and she put her colors onto your face. Your eyes have remained green since, and your cheeks extraordinarily pale. It was in looking at this visitor that your eyes were so bizarrely enlarged; and she has so tenderly clasped you at the neck that you have kept forever a longing for tears.

However, in the expansion of her joy, the moon filled all the chamber like a phosphorescent atmosphere, like a luminous poison; and all that living light thought and said: “You will be ever under the influence of my kiss. You will be beautiful in my manner. You will love that which I love and that which loves me: the water, the clouds, the silence and the night; the great and green sea; the uniform and multiform waters; the place where you are not; the lover whom you do not know; the monstrous flowers; the perfumes that make delirium; the cats that sprawl on pianos and moan like women, with a voice rough and sweet!”

“And you will be loved by my lovers, flattered by my flatterers. You will be the queen of men with green eyes whom I also have clasped on the throat in my nocturnal caresses; of those who love the sea, the immense sea, tumultuous and green, the water unformed and multiform, the place where they are not, the women whom they do not know, the sinister flowers that resemble the censers of an unknown religion, the perfumes that trouble the will, and the savage and voluptuous animals that are the emblems of their madness.”

And it is for that reason, accursed, dear, spoiled child, that I am now couched at your feet, seeking in all your person the reflection of that terrible Divinity, of that prophetic godmother, of the poisoning wet-nurse of all the lunatics.

— translated from the French by R. Blake Underwood