Sadness of the Moon – A poem

Remembered one of the beautiful poems on the moon “Tristesses de la Lune” (Sadness of the Moon), by the famous French poet Charles Baudelaire (1821 – 1867). It’s interesting that most of the famous poems on the moon are sad, romantic ones. This poem is from his collection of poems “Fleurs du Mal” (Flowers of Evil).

After reading it again today, I was so enamored by it’s exquisite beauty and inspired to translate it. There are many existing translations, but decided to try my own  🙂

Learnt French a long time back and am out of touch, but luckily, for a decent translation one needs to be more proficient in the language you’re translating into (English). Have done a simplistic and figurative and not a literal word by word translation.

The original poem is simply superb in it’s imagery and emotion, and my translation can never equal it. However, it was great fun trying, and using all my poetic license :):)

Hope you like it. Also pasting the original French version for those of you who know French.

Tristesses de la Lune (Sadness of the Moon) by Charles Baudelaire/Translated by Aparna Rao

Today, the moon resembles a pining beauty
dreamy, languorous and distracted
lying amidst the pillows on her bed
trying in vain to fall asleep

She sighs in despair
on soft heaps of cushions
and turns her eyes to the floral clouds
rising in the sky

Lost in listless languor
She sometimes lets a teardrop fall
on the earth

A fervent poet, also unable to sleep
grasps the teardrop in his outstretched palm
as if it were a sparkling opal
and hides it in his heart

Tristesses de la Lune – Charles Baudelaire

Ce soir, la lune rêve avec plus de paresse;
Ainsi qu’une beauté, sur de nombreux coussins,
Qui d’une main distraite et légère caresse
Avant de s’endormir le contour de ses seins,

Sur le dos satiné des molles avalanches,
Mourante, elle se livre aux longues pâmoisons,
Et promène ses yeux sur les visions blanches
Qui montent dans l’azur comme des floraisons.

Quand parfois sur ce globe, en sa langueur oisive,
Elle laisse filer une larme furtive,
Un poète pieux, ennemi du sommeil,

Dans le creux de sa main prend cette larme pâle,
Aux reflets irisés comme un fragment d’opale,
Et la met dans son coeur loin des yeux du soleil.


  2 comments for “Sadness of the Moon – A poem

  1. 10 Aug 2017 at 1:34 pm

    Its fabulous translation

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