Wednesday, June 24, 2009


this cloud.
not every cloud reminds me of this poem.
this cloud, though...this paisley cloud,
this miraculous cloud...

L'etranger par Charles Baudelaire

Qui aimes-tu le mieux, homme énigmatique, dis ?
Ton père, ta mère, ta soeur ou ton frère ?
Je n’ai ni père, ni mère, ni soeur, ni frère.
Tes amis ?
Vous vous servez là d’une parole dont le sens m’est restée jusqu’à ce jour inconnu.
Ta patrie ?
J’ignore sous quelle latitude elle est située.
La beauté ?
Je l’aimerais volontiers, déesse et immortelle.
L’or ?
Je le hais comme vous haïssez Dieu.
Eh ! qu’aimes-tu donc, extraordinaire étranger ?
J’aime les nuages. Les nuages qui passent…
là-bas…là-bas les merveilleux nuages !

and here's my attempt at a translation:
not word for word but with poetic license

the stranger

whom do you love best, inscrutable stranger, tell?
father? mother? sister? brother?
i have no father nor mother, sister nor brother
you use a word whose meaning, even to this day, is unknown to me
your country?
i know not in what latitude it lies
i would love her gladly, goddess, immortal...
i hate it as you hate god
what, then, do you love, remarkable stranger?
i love the clouds. the clouds passing...there...there...
the miraculous clouds


  1. You have set a new standard for the taking of clouds! Thank you!

  2. I love the poem but I think the cloud looks like a whale.

  3. The miraculous clouds -- something my mother loved. I took her to grand canyon just a few years before she died (Alzheimers) and she just kept remarking on the clouds. A lovely memory. Thank you, Magpie


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