The Albatross (L’Albatros)

(Friday, November 17, 2006, 12:56 a.m.)

copied from Myspace blog

(Translated by James McGowan from Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du Mal)

Often, when bored, the sailors of the crew
Trap albatross, the great birds of the seas,
Mild travelers escorting in the blue
Ships gliding on the ocean's mysteries.

And when the sailors have them on the planks,
Hurt and distraught, these kings of all outdoors
Piteously let trail along their flanks
Their great white wings, dragging like useless oars.

This voyager, how comical and weak!
Once handsome, how unseemly and inept!
One sailor pokes a pipe into its beak,
Another mocks the flier's hobbled step.

The Poet is a kinsman in the clouds
Who scoffs at archers, loves a stormy day;
But on the ground, among the hooting crowds,
He cannot walk, his wings are in the way.


My wings are always in the way, even when the crowds aren't hooting. (They used to hoot more when I was a child, now they just tend to leave me alone, which I suppose is better.) I think what's said here is true, also, for other intellectuals besides poets (though poet I am also). How often even the happier moments in my life are often dogged by doubts and disappointments. Sometimes I would probably be better off if I reflected less on things and lived day-by-day like most people.

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