John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton

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Poet's Corner: The Albatross

The Albatross

Often, for fun, sailors snare albatross, colossal seabirds which—
apathetic fellow travelers—follow the ship as it skims the bitter

   Hardly brought down on deck, these royalty of the blue,
awkward and ashamed, let their great white wings trail dolefully at
their sides, like oars.

   Winged voyager—how weak, how clumsy! So lately beautiful
now ugly, ludicrous! One sailor offends a beak with his clay pipe;
another mimics, limping, the handicapped who before was in

   The Poet is like that prince of clouds, comrade of the storm,
mocking the bowmen: exiled to the ground, jeered on all sides, his
giant wings impede his walk.

Charles Baudelaire (April 9, 1821 – 1867)
Translated by Keith Waldrop (born 1932)

Happy birthday, Charles Baudelaire, born 190 years ago today! Start your planning now for the Baudelaire bicentennial in 2021!

Speaking of anniversaries, today is the sixth anniversary of the wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. Why not remember that joyous day by reading the poem written for the occasion by then-Poet Laureate Andrew Motion, Spring Wedding, posted in this here journal back in 2005?

Tags: poet's corner

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