(after Baudelaire)

In order to write such undefiled poems
I must lodge in the suburbs of the sky,
companion to the steeples, steeled by dreams,
the bells’ mystic clamour flooding my mind.  
Awake in this eyrie, chin on arms,      
I see how the citizens toil and sleep,
the towers, the chimneys – the city’s masts –
vast cloudscapes evoking eternity.

I can just make out through the squalid dark
love’s fire-freckled night, bowed lamps in attics,  
sulphurous smoke-rivers aimed at the stars,
the moon declaring its spectral magic.
I witness the spring, June haze, pure autumns,
Decembers sealing the city with ice;
I hide away behind shutters, curtains,
bringing the brain’s fairy palace to light.

And now I imagine blue distances,
a garden, a fountain’s tremulous height,
birds fluent morning and evening, kisses,
a wholly ingenuous paradise.
The rain, seething beyond the windowsill,
can try in vain to sabotage my task,
lost as I am in the nameless pleasure
of conjuring dawn by force of will,
and, sucking bee-like the sunshine from my heart,
transforming thought into golden weather.