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Poem of the Day: “Cats” (Charles Baudelaire)


From the Everyman’s Poetry translation by Laurence Lerner

Cats

Lovers and scholars, the ardent and the prim,

As they grow older, ripen: and love cats,

Those gentle household gods, those powerful pets,

Afraid of draughts, and sedentary, like them.

If only one could break their pride, how well

These voluptuary lovers of the dark

Who seek out silent corners where fears lurk

Would serve to draw the chariots of Hell.

Look at them dreaming: how that attitude

Suggests the Sphinx, which also dreams, and lies

Stretched out upon the sands in solitude.

Their fecund loins house magic powers; and see!

Like grains of sand that glint elusively,

The specks of gold inhabiting their eyes.

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