Au pays parfume que le soleil caresse

Like many of these poems, today’s choice is a very personal one. I too fell in love with and then married a creole girl, from an exotic Indian Ocean Island. I recognize the place, the seduction and the exotic, erotic impact which captured my heart and body. Just line in the poem….
À une Dame créole

Au pays parfumé que le soleil caresse,
J’ai connu, sous un dais d’arbres tout empourprés
Et de palmiers d’où pleut sur les yeux la paresse,
Une dame créole aux charmes ignorés.
Son teint est pâle et chaud; la brune enchanteresse
A dans le cou des airs noblement maniérés;
Grande et svelte en marchant comme une chasseresse,
Son sourire est tranquille et ses yeux assurés.
Si vous alliez, Madame, au vrai pays de gloire,
Sur les bords de la Seine ou de la verte Loire,
Belle digne d’orner les antiques manoirs,
Vous feriez, à l’abri des ombreuses retraites
Germer mille sonnets dans le coeur des poètes,
Que vos grands yeux rendraient plus soumis que vos noirs.

— Charles Baudelaire

From <;
Sun, exotic and spicy scents, palm trees, the confidence of a woman resplendent in her own place – a;; these are captured by Baudelaire 150 years ago, just as my own heart was captured 25 years ago. The second half of the poem also resonates with me, describing the impact and the effect on others of this woman coming to France, inspiring poets and nobles to fall at her feet. My (now ex-) wife had the same impact, drawing people to her with a natural magnetism, both in France and the USA. Exotic beauty may be only skin-deep, but it can have a tremendous impact on all those who experience it.

And, of course, this is a sonnet, but the rhyme scheme -ABAB ABAB CCC DDD brings an additional layer of surprise – it also brings a form of exoticism, form mirrors substance here to complete the poetic experience.

And to add an additional sense of place to this poem, read it alongside the same poet’s “Parfum Exotique”




The Poetry Dude


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