Exotic Perfume (Parfum Exotique)

Clark Ashton Smith

(Translated "from the French of Charles Pierre Baudelaire")

At autumn eve, with pillowed lips and closing eyes,
I breathe the perfumes of thy sultry bosom bare,
And find again the forfeit, warm, Lethean air
Of isles eloigned in sleep beneath enchanted skies;

Where the far-lifted suns flame-heavy and unfalling
Illume strange arbours pleached with many-savoured fruit,
That arch the simple love and passion absolute
Of sinewy men and candid girls who need no calling.

Yea, wafted on thy body's perfume, I have flown
And sought the port where many prows are met together,
Borne by the black monsoon to find a golden weather;

And subtly there my calm and cradled sense is haunted
By airs compounding the green spice of trees unknown
In one slow philtre with the songs by sailors chanted.

From The Measure, April 1925
Reprinted in Sandalwood (as "Parfum Exotique"), but not included in Selected Poems
Note: Text is from a tearsheet of THE MEASURE corrected in Smith's handwriting.

Bibliographic Citation

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