La Fin de la Journée, Charles Baudelaire

At the End of the Day

Through light, all colorless and pale, 

Life blunders on in brazen dance, 

Racing, writhing—to no avail.

So at the moment of first advance

Of voluptuous night on the distant hill,

With all shame to be made outcast,

And all hunger to be made still,

The Poet tells himself, “At last!

“Just like my bones that long for sleep, 

My burning mind seeks its repose
From doleful dreams that inward creep;

“I’ll stretch out flat to soothe life’s throes

And feel your shroud around me close—

Refreshed, renewed, O shadows deep.”

Les Hiboux, Charles Baudelaire

The Owls

The owls seek out the darkest spot 

Deep in the yews; arranged in rows, 

Darting red eyes about like those 

Of alien gods, they sit. They plot.

Nor will they stir from there before
The melancholy hour’s begun—
When, driving on the sidelong sun,
Darkness will settle in once more.

Their posture shows who would be wise
That in this world great danger lies

In tumult, revel, agitation;

A fleeting phantom leads a chase
That ends in endless condemnation

For one who dares step out of place.