Charles Baudelaire

(9 April 1821 – 31 August 1867 / Paris)

Her Hair - Poem by Charles Baudelaire

O fleece, that down the neck waves to the nape!
O curls! O perfume nonchalant and rare!
O ecstasy! To fill this alcove shape
With memories that in these tresses sleep,
I would shake them like penions in the air!

Languorous Asia, burning Africa,
And a far world, defunct almost, absent,
Within your aromatic forest stay!
As other souls on music drift away,
Mine, O my love! still floats upon your scent.

I shall go there where, full of sap, both tree
And man swoon in the heat of the southern climates;
Strong tresses be the swell that carries me!
I dream upon your sea of amber
Of dazzling sails, of oarsmen, masts, and flames:

A sun-drenched and reverberating port,
Where I imbibe colour and sound and scent;
Where vessels, gliding through the gold and moiré,
Open their vast arms as they leave the shore
To clasp the pure and shimmering firmament.

I'll plunge my head, enamored of its pleasure,
In this black ocean where the other hides;
My subtle spirit then will know a measure
Of fertile idleness and fragrant leisure,
Lulled by the infinite rhythm of its tides!

Pavilion, of autumn-shadowed tresses spun,
You give me back the azure from afar;
And where the twisted locks are fringed with down
Lurk mingled odors I grow drunk upon
Of oil of coconut, of musk, and tar.

A long time! always! my hand in your hair
Will sow the stars of sapphire, pearl, ruby,
That you be never deaf to my desire,
My oasis and my gourd whence I aspire
To drink deep of the wine of memory.


Comments about Her Hair by Charles Baudelaire

  • (9/1/2017 10:01:00 AM)


    Is the alcove shape the nape of the neck, or his brain that is so overwhelmed? (Report) Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (9/1/2017 9:57:00 AM)


    What is a penion? Dictionary says a kind of seashell? Hard to imagine him waving a seashell in the air, but hey! (Report) Reply

  • (7/1/2016 10:41:00 PM)


    The awesome flight of imagery has been instrumental in composing this simply superb love song exhibiting a rare tenderness and intensity, through out. (Report) Reply

  • (7/1/2016 9:04:00 PM)


    .............super nice ★ a pleasure to enjoy (Report) Reply

  • Mohammed Asim Nehal (7/1/2016 6:59:00 PM)


    The love for hairs are eminent from this poem, it describes the minutest details of some beautiful hairs on lovers head trying to intimidate, Nice poem. (Report) Reply

  • Susan Williams (7/1/2016 6:21:00 PM)


    My goodness, the man certainly gets excited by her hair- -I do believe he would give up everything he had to run his fingers through her hair. He finds different words for hair- -but fleece? Really? If you're into patting sheep that image might rouse your interest... all he roused from me was my eyebrow. Those last lines though are so opulent... in fact, I found them rather Cleopatra-ish! (Report) Reply

  • Pranab K Chakraborty (7/1/2016 1:50:00 PM)


    Expanded soul of a poet illustrated with so gracious manner, the desire of a real poet could be imagined. Passion is so high, human feelings (many times) are incapable to catch the degree of expansion of poetic pleasure. And ultimately the words reverberating.......... O my love! still floats upon your scent. (Report) Reply

  • Lotlot Diaz (7/1/2016 11:48:00 AM)


    It is just a proof of that poetry can be on top and still on race in all kinds of art in our modern day.s
    Today you can be a doctor or a lawyer or something else
    By studying. But to be a born poet and writer, without school
    your a poet no matter what. Everybody cannot be a poet but
    everybody can be a teacher or lawyer.
    (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (7/1/2016 3:32:00 AM)


    To drink deep of the wine of memory! ! Nice piece of work. (Report) Reply

  • (11/29/2008 6:07:00 AM)


    i am quite pleased to see some French symbolist poets on here, this one was remarkable, expressing the molten decadence of Baudelaire's work, now lets get some Rimbaud, preferably the Wyatt mason translation (Report) Reply

  • (5/9/2005 6:07:00 AM)


    A very Hot poem indeed! (Report) Reply

    Townie Page (9/1/2017 9:59:00 AM)

    You mean hot, like fleece is hot?

Read all 12 comments »




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Read poems about / on: africa, autumn, memory, ocean, music, hair, tree, dream, sleep, sea, sun, world, star



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



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