Decline or stagnation? What's the word for what our country, our culture, our civilization is undergoing? Ross Douthat’s...
Gypsies on a Journey
The people of the tribe, with fierce, prophetic eyes
Set forward yesterday, their offspring carried tight
Upon their backs, or feeding each cub’s appetite
From hanging breasts, the ever-ready, liquid prize.
Beneath their gleaming weaponry, on foot, men go
Alongside caravans where theirs are huddled, skies
They walk across with laziness and heavy eyes
From absentee mirages filling them with woe.
The cricket, from the bottom of its sandy spring,
Observes them passing by, and starts again to sing;
Cybele, who loves them, pads with green their course,
Makes the desert bloom and shifts the rock aside
Before these travelers, for whom is opened wide
The future darkness from an all-familiar force.
Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) was a French poet, essayist, art critic, and pioneering translator of Edgar Allan Poe. He is perhaps best known for his book of lyric poetry Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil).
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