By Owen Lucas

Baudelaire : LE FLACON


There are strong perfumes for which all matter
Is porous. They seem to penetrate the glass.
Opening a casket brought from the Orient,
The lock protesting as it grates and stalls,

Or in some armoire of a deserted house, dusty
And black, breathing of time’s bitter odour,
Sometimes you find an old flask from which
The bright soul of a recollection springs.

Manifold thoughts that had slept there, funereal
Chrysalides trembling in the humid darkness,
Draw out their wings and take to the air,
Tinted with azur, glazed with pink, leafed in gold.

Look there! an intoxicating memory flutters
In the murky air! Your eyes close : Vertigo
Seizes your vanquished soul, and pushes it bodily
Toward a gulf darkened by human miasmas.

It throws you down at the edge of an ancient chasm
Where, like Lazarus casting off the shroud,
A spectral cadaver moves as it begins to wake :
The old form of a charming, rancid love.

Just so, when I am lost to the memory of man,
When they have thrown me in the corner
Of a sinister armoire, an old and desolate casing,
Broken and abject and smeared with dust,

I will be your casket, my amiable sickness :
The testimony of your force and your virulence,
O dear poison prepared by the angels! Liquor that
Devours me! My heart lives and it dies in you.


Owen Lucas is a British poet living in Stamford, CT. He grew up in rural Cambridgeshire, and began writing poetry while studying at the University of London. He was previously featured in Petrichor MachineThe MacGuffinPsychic MeatloafLines & StarsThird WednesdayYou Stumble Into a Room Full of Poets and Clinic

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