|John William Waterhouse|
If ever a prose-poem spoke to me, or OF me, defining my adolescent self (who was in love with Hesse’s Demian) it is Baudelaire’s Favours of the Moon.
I can always sense people who bear the same invisible moon-mark, members of my tribe.
We find each other and glow in the shadows.
Charles Baudelaire – The Favours of the Moon:
THE MOON, who is caprice itself, looked through the window while you were sleeping in your cradle, and said to herself: ‘I like this child.’
And softly she descended her staircase of clouds and, noiselessly, passed through the window-panes. Then she stretched herself out over you with the supple tenderness of a mother, and laid down her colors on your face. Ever since, the pupils of your eyes have remained green and your cheeks unusually pale. It was while contemplating this visitor that your eyes became so strangely enlarged; and she clasped your neck so tenderly that you have retained for ever the desire to weep.
However, in the expansion of her joy, the Moon filled the whole room with phosphorescent vapour, like a luminous poison; and all the living light thought and said: ‘You shall suffer for ever the influence of my kiss. You shall be beautiful in my fashion. You shall love that which I love and that which loves me: water, clouds, silence and the night; the immense green sea; the formless and multiform streams; the place where you shall not be; the lover whom you shall not know; flowers of monstrous shape; perfumes that cause delirium; cats that shudder, swoon and curl up on pianos and groan like women, with a voice that is hoarse and gentle!
‘And you shall be loved by my lovers, courted by my courtiers. You shall be the queen of all men that have green eyes, whose necks also I have clasped in my nocturnal caresses; of those who love the sea, the sea that is immense, tumultuous and green, the formless and multiform streams, the place where they are not, the woman whom they do not know, sinister flowers that resemble the censers of a strange religion, perfumes that confound the will; and the savage and voluptuous animals which are the emblems of their dementia.’
And that, my dear, cursed, spoiled child, is why I am now lying at your feet, seeking in all your person the reflection of the formidable divinity, of the foreknowing godmother, the poisoning wet-nurse of all the lunatics.