Sep 16, 2010

The Foreigner by Charles Baudelaire

Two of my all time favorite poems were written by French authors; here I present you The Foreigner by Charles Baudelaire. It’s a poem in prose and I find it awesome. I did actually feel very identified with the foreigner back then when I was a very existentialist teenager. Today it doesn’t have the same meaning as it used to, but I still treasure it very much in my heart.

The poem was published in 1869, after Baudelaire’s death: a collection of poems in prose, the book was called Le Spleen de Paris. Who knew more than ten years later I’d be walking down the streets of the City of Light. There you go:

The Foreigner

"Who do you love the most, enigmatic man? Your father,
your mother, your sister or your brother?"
"I have neither father, nor mother, nor sister, nor brother."
"Your friends?"
"There you’re using a word that to this day I’ve never understood."
"Your country?"
"I don’t know at what latitude it’s situated."
"I would willingly love it, goddess and immortal."
"I hate it as you hate God."
"Well, what do you love then, extraordinary stranger?"
"I love the clouds... the clouds passing... up there... up there... the marvelous clouds!"

Charles Baudelaire, translation by Raymond N. Mackenzie, 2008.

Charles Baudelaire I love the passing clouds foreignerThe passing clouds...

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