Friday, September 17, 2010

"Une Charogne" (or "A Carcass") by Baudelaire

I have started a series of illustrations to accompany poems from Baudelaire's "The Flowers of Evil".  This is the first, an image for "A Carcass": A beautiful and romantic poem about strolling along with your lover, on a Summer's day and finding a lady's rotting corpse.  It's not a poem for the faint of heart, and not if you've just eaten either.  I've driven myself half mad with reference images this week but I am quite proud of the results.

Choice extracts below, or you can read various translations of the whole thing here.  My translation is by James McGowan from the Oxford World's Classics edition.

"Remember, my love, the object we saw
That beautiful morning in June:
By a bend in the path a carcass reclined
On a bed sown with pebbles and stones;

Her legs were spread out like a lecherous whore,
Sweating poisonous fumes,
Who onpened in slick invitational style
Her stinking and festering womb..."

He continues to get more graphic for 7 stanzas, then...

"-And you, in your turn, will be rotten as this:
Horrible, filthy, undone,
O sun of my nature and star of my eyes,
My passion, my angel in one!

Yes, such will you be, o regent of grace,
After the rites have been read,
Under the weeds under blossoming grass
As you moulder with bones of the dead.

Ah then, o my beauty, explain to the worms
Who cherish your body so fine,
That I am the keeper for corpses of love
Of the form, and the essence divine!"

Quite romantic really.  "'Ere luv, that rotting corpse reminds me of you!  Gizza kiss."

More less gruesome poems and illustrations to come in the following month!


  1. abi is this your illlustration? it is too beautiful

  2. Yes! I did this. Thank you! x

  3. where'd you get this translation?

  4. This one is from the Oxford world classics edition of The Flowers of Evil.