Head of Hair
O fleece, billowing even down the neck!
O locks! 0 perfume charged with nonchalance!
What ecstasy! To people our dark room
With memories that sleep within this mane,
I'll shake it like a kerchief in the air!
Languorous Asia, scorching Africa,
A whole world distant, vacant, nearly dead,
Lives in your depths, o forest of perfume!
While other spirits sail on symphonies
Mine, my beloved, swims along your scent.
I will go down there, where the trees and men,
Both full of sap, swoon in the ardent heat;
Strong swelling tresses, carry me away!
Yours, sea of ebony, a dazzling dream
Of sails, of oarsmen, waving pennants, masts:
A sounding harbour where my soul can drink
From great floods subtle tones, perfumes and hues;
Where vessels gliding in the moire and gold
Open their wide arms to the glorious sky
Where purely trembles the eternal warmth.
I'll plunge my drunken head, dizzy with love
In this black sea where that one is confined;
My subtle soul that rolls in its caress
Will bring you back, 0 fertile indolence!
Infinite lulling, leisure steeped in balm!
Blue head of hair, tent of spread shadows, you
Give me the azure of the open sky;
In downy wisps along your twisted locks
I'll gladly drug myself on mingled scents,
Essence of cocoa-oil, pitch and musk.
For ages! always! in your heavy mane
My hand will scatter ruby, sapphire, pearl
So you will never chill to my desire!
Are you not the oasis where I dream,
My drinking-gourd for memory's fine wine?
Přeložil James McGowan