The Dancing Serpent

How I love to look, dear indolent one, at your beautiful body and see, like a shot silk, the changing gleam of your skin!

On your deep hair, with its bitter perfumes, a scented and wandering sea of blue and brown waves,

Like a ship stirring with the wind of morning my dreamy soul sets sail for a distant sky.

Your eyes, in which nothing is revealed, sweet or bitter, are two cold jewels in which gold mingles with iron.

Seeing your rhythmic walk, beautiful in its abandon, one thinks of a serpent dancing at the end of a stick.

Under the weight of your laziness, your child’s head hangs with the soft looseness of a young elephant’s.

And your body sways and stretches like an elephant ship rolling from side to side and pitching its yards in the water.

Like a stream swollen by the melting of grinding glaciers, when the water of your mouth rises to the edge of your teeth,

I feel I am drinking a Bohemian wine, bitter and overpowering, a liquid sky which scatters my heart with stars.

Charles Baudelaire

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