The Wine of the Solitary Man
Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867), French poet
translated by Lewis Paiget Shanks

the wildering glances of a harlot fair
seen gliding toward us like the silver wake
of undulant moonlight on the quivering lake
when Phoebe bathes her languorous beauty there;


the last gold coins a gambler's fingers hold;
the wanton kiss of love-worn Adeline,
the wheedling songs that leave the will supine
– like far-off cries of sorrow unconsoled –


all these, o bottle deep, were never worth
the pungent balsams in thy fertile girth
stored for the pious poet's thirsty heart;


thou pourest hope and youth and strength anew,
– and pride, this treasure of the beggar-crew,
that lifts us like triumphant gods, apart!


from Flowers of Evil (1931)


courtesy of  vintagewinepoems.com