Recueillement

Christian brothers and sisters may question me for including one of the “Flowers of Evil” (Recueillement) among my offerings here – but we must remember that Christ was a man of sorrows. It’s all in how you see it. After all, one can read the Gospels as the ultimate Gothic tragedy which turns into eternal triumph [think of all those funereal cypresses, night meetings in whitewashed alleys, tombs, enclosed gardens, stinking corpses arising from the grave and  sobbing veiled women  next to bloody pain-wracked bodies expiring under a black sky].

I personally associate the  “long linceul traînant à l’Orient”  [The long shroud trailing toward the East] not only with encroaching Night (which I think the poet intended) but also with the shroud  of  shrouds.

The  illustration on the poem page is by American artist W.D. Heath and was done in 1900 for an Edition of poems by Edgar Allan Poe. The title The Night’s Plutonian Shore is from a line in Poe’s The Raven

If you think this poem is a death-trip, try reading Psalm 88!

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