The Cracked Bell


Charles Baudelaire

It is both bitter and sweet on winter nights

To listen, by the fire that smokes and palpitates,

To distant souvenirs that rise up slowly

At the sound of the chimes that sing in the fog.

Happy is the bell which despite its age

Is vigilant and healthy, and with lusty throat

Faithfully sounds its religious call,

Like an old soldier watching from his tent!

As for me, my soul is flawed, and when she falls victim to ennui,

She wishes to fill the cold night air with her songs,

It often happens that her weakened voice

Sounds like the death rattle of a wounded man,

Forgotten beneath a pile of dead, by a lake of blood,

Who dies without moving, striving desperately.

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