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Spring 2014


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Calm down, heartbreak,
or at least be quiet.

You called on night to fall
and you see, here it is:

an atmosphere of shadows
saturates the city

bringing peace to some
to others worry.

While the abject multitude
of mortal kind

beneath the whip of Pleasure
the Merciless, the tyrant,

goes gathering remorses
at the festival of slaves,

heartbreak, give me your hand,
come this way,

far from these—Look:
the deceased years lean over

the balconies of heaven
in old-fashioned dresses;

out of the waters’ depths
Regret rises, smiling;

the dying sun lies down
to sleep under a bridge

and like a long shroud
trailing to the east

listen, my dear, listen:
gentle Night approaches.

—Charles Baudelaire
(translated from the French by Jim Powell)

Charles Baudelaire, who lived from 1821 to 1867, was a French poet who also wrote art criticism and translated Edgar Allan Poe. His translator, Jim Powell, is a Berkeley-based poet, scholar, essayist, and translator.

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