Since a week or two, for a reason or an other, I have Baudelaire’s poem A une passante in my mind. The verses ” Ô toi que j’eusse aimée, ô toi qui le savais!”/”O you whom I would have loved, O you who knew it!” haunt my mind, like an endless rhapsody.
I studied this poem when I was in high school and then at university; it’s a classic and you are expected to master all what it contains. But though I was trained to study its structure, its melody, its rhythm, it did not touch my soul. It stayed a pleasant piece of poetry. And now, years later, really like tons of years later, it comes back and pierces my heart with its delicacy.
“La rue assourdissante autour de moi hurlait.
Longue, mince, en grand deuil, douleur majestueuse,
Une femme passa, d’une main fastueuse
Soulevant, balançant le feston et l’ourlet;”
“The street about me roared with a deafening sound.
Tall, slender, in heavy mourning, majestic grief,
A woman passed, with a glittering hand
Raising, swinging the hem and flounces of her skirt;”
When I read this poem, I see it in my mind, I feel it in my skin. That long woman, her elegant gestures, her powerful nonchalance. And him, petrified and in an awe in front of so much confidence and beauty, I see him too. I feel his admiration, his fears and that sudden lightyear of passion, of intense love.
Fireworks in his mind.
“Un éclair… puis la nuit! — Fugitive beauté
Dont le regard m’a fait soudainement renaître,
Ne te verrai-je plus que dans l’éternité?”
“A lightning flash… then night! Fleeting beauty
By whose glance I was suddenly reborn,
Will I see you no more before eternity?”
But she is already gone, like a curtain of mystery, a delicate perfume, she is the present and already the past.
“Ailleurs, bien loin d’ici! trop tard! jamais peut-être!
Car j’ignore où tu fuis, tu ne sais où je vais,
Ô toi que j’eusse aimée, ô toi qui le savais!”
“Elsewhere, far, far from here! too late! never perhaps!
For I know not where you fled, you know not where I go,
O you whom I would have loved, O you who knew it!”
May you all have a blissful and poetic day.