from Les Fleurs du Mal
by Charles Baudelaire
Translated by Boris Leyvi
At times, the mariners, afar from hankered ports,
Catch for a senseless fun, impaling ocean roads,
A dainty albatross, a leaden-footed bird,
That follows alongside the quest-aspired boats.
And when he's on the deck, tied there to flagschtoks,
The Master of the skies, now graceless, in despair,
Tries, not succeeding once, his gentlemanly walk,
And paltry are the bulky wings he wears.
Why is he so gauche, that wanderer of skies!
That comely bird is but a lamentable joke!
Hey, touch his funny beak with your worn-out pipe,
And, stepping over, do the crippled flier mock.
A poet is like him — the lord of curvy airs:
Not fearing poisonous darts, the tempest his sole bride,
In the exile, on earth, through laugh and shame he bears,
And bulky wings impair his formidable stride.
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