by Charles Baudelaire, translated to English by John Collings Squire
An author’s favourite pipe am I,
My Kaffir woman’s countenance
Tells the beholder at a glance
My master smokes incessantly.
If he is mournful or in pain
I smoke as does the ploughman’s cot
When the good wife prepares the pot
Before her spouse comes home again.
I bind his soul and rock her well
In the blue twisting skein which slips
And rises from my fiery lips,
And weave a very potent spell
Which soothes his heart in its distress
And heals his spirit’s weariness.