Delmore Schwartz

(8 December 1913 - 11 July 1966 / Brooklyn / New York / United States)

Baudelaire - Poem by Delmore Schwartz

When I fall asleep, and even during sleep,
I hear, quite distinctly, voices speaking
Whole phrases, commonplace and trivial,
Having no relation to my affairs.


Dear Mother, is any time left to us
In which to be happy? My debts are immense.
My bank account is subject to the court’s judgment.
I know nothing. I cannot know anything.
I have lost the ability to make an effort.
But now as before my love for you increases.
You are always armed to stone me, always:
It is true. It dates from childhood.


For the first time in my long life
I am almost happy. The book, almost finished,
Almost seems good. It will endure, a monument
To my obsessions, my hatred, my disgust.


Debts and inquietude persist and weaken me.
Satan glides before me, saying sweetly:
“Rest for a day! You can rest and play today.
Tonight you will work.” When night comes,
My mind, terrified by the arrears,
Bored by sadness, paralyzed by impotence,
Promises: “Tomorrow: I will tomorrow.”
Tomorrow the same comedy enacts itself
With the same resolution, the same weakness.


I am sick of this life of furnished rooms.
I am sick of having colds and headaches:
You know my strange life. Every day brings
Its quota of wrath. You little know
A poet’s life, dear Mother: I must write poems,
The most fatiguing of occupations.


I am sad this morning. Do not reproach me.
I write from a café near the post office,
Amid the click of billiard balls, the clatter of dishes,
The pounding of my heart. I have been asked to write
“A History of Caricature.” I have been asked to write
“A History of Sculpture.” Shall I write a history
Of the caricatures of the sculptures of you in my heart?


Although it costs you countless agony,
Although you cannot believe it necessary,
And doubt that the sum is accurate,
Please send me money enough for at least three weeks.


Comments about Baudelaire by Delmore Schwartz

  • Jayatissa K. Liyanage (3/17/2018 12:32:00 AM)


    How amazing it is to note a real fact of life, through this poem! Whenever one has to suffer from dreadful feelings or whatever, one almost always lodges under one's own mom's shadow. Mother's love is such, the final solace lies there. Wonderfully crafted inspiring poem. Congrats for being the PoD. Thanks for sharing. X (Report) Reply

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  • Edward Kofi Louis (3/16/2018 3:12:00 PM)


    Enough at least for three weeks! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

  • (3/16/2018 8:49:00 AM)


    Although it costs you countless agony,
    Although you cannot believe it necessary,
    And doubt that the sum is accurate,
    Please send me money enough for at least three weeks#

    Inspiring and beautiful poem!
    (Report) Reply

  • Kumarmani Mahakul (3/16/2018 2:43:00 AM)


    A beautiful poem with nice theme shared hauntingly. Thanks and congratulations for POD. (Report) Reply

  • Bernard F. Asuncion (3/16/2018 1:12:00 AM)


    Such an interesting write by Delmore Schwartz👍👍👍 (Report) Reply

  • Denis Mair (3/16/2017 10:09:00 PM)


    I'm glad I didn't end up like this. Thank you Delmore S. for showing the downside of walking in the footsteps of Charles B. But you were both great. (Report) Reply

  • (3/16/2017 8:52:00 AM)


    Just received a copy of 'Flowers of Evil' Yesterday! How perfectly in time this poem is to be poem of the day- great work. (Report) Reply

  • Tom Allport (3/16/2017 7:27:00 AM)


    a sad life poem of many troubles which concludes with a begging letter? (Report) Reply

  • Muzahidul Reza (3/16/2017 6:25:00 AM)


    When I fall asleep, and even during sleep,
    I hear, quite distinctly, voices speaking
    Whole phrases, commonplace and trivial,
    Having no relation to my affairs. thank you for sharing
    (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (3/16/2017 5:07:00 AM)


    I know nothing! Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

  • (3/16/2017 2:20:00 AM)


    Is this a translation from the French of poet Charles Baudelaire's poem? 'Les Fleurs du mal'? (1857-68) , If it
    is a poem inspired by that poet, why not say so? If it is in free verse, why not write it in prose? I face this problem
    when I try to write a poem. AM
    (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Friday, April 16, 2010



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