Traces of His Spirit (for Baudelaire)

I am not exactly sure why, but in 1968 I was on some level convinced that I had been Charles Baudelaire in an earlier life. Something about that man that rang far too many bells, I guess.

True, I loved his poetry, and I drank his prose poems. In fact, even though living in Stockholm at the time, I had tracked down and purchased a beautiful bible-thin-paper collection of his complete works, in French (of which I spoke nary a word), just to have all his writings in his language nearby. Sustenance.

His poem “The Albatross” moves me still, and his anguish (I read several biographies) hurt me. To me, he was a true seeker that saw poetry as the way out, though he never really made it, at least not then.

I felt, as I was writing this song that I did manage to wrestle my feelings about him down on paper.

And, true to form, it’s long.

The Words:

Trace the pages of an open book
if your heart is true
silent sentences because you look
spring to life for you

Frozen stillness in a northern sky
the moon so full and so cold
smiles as if to say she won’t deny
the wonders he’ll behold

When on the canvas of forever silence
stir the colors of his heart and his soul
in the twinkle of forever islands

They are
traces of his spirit
leaves of distant grass
whispering that morning
has as yet to come to pass

Traces of a seeker
gleaning something old
deep within a stillness where
his weary wings unfold

Still he dies
gathered by a pall
of blind and freezing
control

Wrought by lies
soothing as they call
to lure, to seize
his soul
his soul

Leaving us his traces
in a fading light
fertile with his sorrow
and begotten by his plight

Traces of his spirit
beats of fading wings
rising in the moonlight
for the promises it sings

Muses come to him when suns go down
inky fingers roam
eyes ablaze in his beleaguered frown
trace his dreams of home

Immortal images in truthful grace
flee his battered shell
forever haunting those he has to face
in his daytime hell

For on the canvas of forever silence
shine the colors of his heart and his soul
in the twinkle of forever islands

They are
traces of his spirit
bravely ‘long his path
braving every lingering and
scornful aftermath

Traces of a painter
skillful strokes belie
pain that tore and broke him
and the love that saw him cry

Still his eyes
glimmer with a light
that none can seize
nor control

And so I rise
guided by that light
to see, to free
my soul
my soul

Leaving by his traces
by his myth and lore
tracing all his wild and holy
traces from before

Traces of my spirit
wings alive in flight
soar a sky of wonder and
of mystical delight

And on the canvas of forever silence
stir the colors of my heart and soul
in the twinkle of forever islands

Ulf Wolf
October 1991/March 2015
Copyright © 2015 by Wolfstuff