Prefatory note: In my youth, I went through a Baudelairean phase (don’t we all) and produced a series of verses that ended up sounding like a cross between, well, Baudelaire and Edward Young’s Graveyard School of English Verse. Some of these verses were good enough and some were downright awful. This is one of the better efforts from that period and I hope, Dear Reader, that you enjoy it. Looking back on it, it reminds me of some of the campier passages in the Comte de Lautréamont’s immortally insane classic The Chants of Maldoror. Unfortunately, this passage does not involve shark-wrestling — for that, you will have to refer to the Comte.
When the Soul, first born, falls shuddering out
The womb, Death stands attendant there to catch
Those lucent, trembling limbs within his grasp
And bear it gently home.
And yet the Soul, though wet and weeping, still
Flies into the arms of smiling physicks,
Eager to pronounce a new birth of flesh
For the discerning mouth of the worm.
Death! who cradles first our infant faces:
Those faces which shall melt before your words
Of wooing and swoon beneath your kind sheets
Without protest or qualm in due time—
Why fly they from your touch in fevered fear
And haste? Know they not that peace cannot be
Within the morn of life but in the clasp
Of lusting graveyard earth and grime?