a translation from the french of charles baudelaire
by thom olsen 


a cat walks in my head
as if in its apartment,
a belle cat, strong and sweet and charming,
meowing, you hardly notice

its timber, tender, is discreet,
the voice thick that grinds
rich, always profound,
in charm as in secret

a pearly voice to filter
down my shadowy depth,
to fill my various verse
joyous as by potion

she sleeps the worst away,
bottles up her ecstasy
to say the longest phrase,
and not to need a word

her bowing does not chew that
perfect instrument, my heart,
royalty in
singing to vibrancy

voice, mysterious cat,
seraphic, strong and
cat of whom all, as by angels,
is subtle harmony





  1. pointsthruprose

    One of my cats, the male, wakes me every morning by sitting at my head and staring at my face. He demands attention! My good friend and partner has this childlike belief he hangs on to “cats are girls and dogs are boys”. I have the opposite in my house or do I?

    What a beautifully translated poem. I don’t know French well enough to compare, but this poem reads with great beauty and flow.

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