Femmes damnées, by Aleister Crowley

Aleister Crowley
Aleister Crowley, New York (1906)

My third selection from Crowley’s collection Rodin in Rime (1907) belongs to the second section “Sonnets and Quatorzains,” whose poems have all 14 lines. Its French title “Femmes damnées” (translating as ‘doomed women’) comes from two poems in Les Fleurs du Mal by Charles Baudelaire, one of which (subtitled “Delphine et Hippolyte”) was banned by the French censorship between 1857 and 1949. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

L’éternel printemps, by Aleister Crowley

Todd Webb - LaSalle Street and Amsterdam Avenue, Harlem
Todd Webb – LaSalle Street and Amsterdam Avenue, Harlem (1946) – Museum of the City of New York / Todd Webb Archive

I present today a second poem from the section “Various Measures” in the collection of verses Rodin in Rime. Youth directly feel the truth of love and life by dancing and holding each other, while old people try to reach it by pondering. The poet says: roll back the wheel of time and rejoin youth. Yielding to the ecstasy of love and dance, all ages can be one with eternity. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

L’amour qui passe, by Aleister Crowley

Cathy Delanssay - L'amie intime
Cathy Delanssay – L’amie intime

Crowley’s collection of verses Rodin in Rime was published in 1907. After an author’s note “Auguste Rodin and the Nomenclature of his Works,” subtitled “A Study in Spite,” which looks like an incomprehensible polemic against unnamed persons, the first poem “Rodin” is presented as “Frontispice.” Then follow two groups of poems, of variable length in “Various Measures,” then with 14 lines each in “Sonnets and Quatorzains.” Most of them have a French title. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

Flavia, by Aleister Crowley

Noctivagant - brabikate.blogspot.fr
Noctivagant – brabikate.blogspot.fr

The eighth poem of Rosa Mundi, and other love-songs tells us that the beauty, the kisses and caresses of the loved Italian girl will not last, in the same way as night must soon end with sunrise. There is no salvation in an afterlife, so we must enjoy the pleasures of earthly life without delay, thus live the bliss of the short love night. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

Annie, by Aleister Crowley

Léon Perrault - Petite fille au bouquet de fleurs
Léon Jean Bazile Perrault – Petite fille au bouquet de fleurs (1896)

Rosa Mundi, and other love-songs is a collection of 28 numbered poems, first published in 1905. It starts with a very long poem, itself called “Rosa Mundi.” Poems numbered 4 to 13 are titled by names of girls. The most charming is the fourth, where a boy secretly offers three flowers to a girl, but in return she has only one secret flower to offer him. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

Asmodel, by Aleister Crowley

Sulamith Wülfing - Flower
Sulamith Wülfing – Flower (1931) – from Pigtails in Paint

This is a beautiful and strange poem about a loved girl who seems to come from an outer world, maybe from dreams, or from a star, a spiritual bride descending on the bed of the desiring poet, and their mystical union mixes extasy with agony. Both erotic and esoteric, full of hidden meanings, these verses are difficult to interpret. The 1905 edition of the poem states that the title means: ‘One of the “Intelligences” of the Planet Venus.’ CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

Aleister Crowley parodies Lewis Carroll

John Tenniel - The White Knight, In Through the Looking-Glass
John Tenniel – The White Knight, In Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (1897)

Crowley’s The Sword of Song (1904) consists mainly of two long poems, ‘Ascension Day’ and ‘Pentecost,’ both critical of Christianity; they are preceded by an Introduction and followed by lengthy notes. The title, with its subtitle and long dedication, is itself rather ironic: CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…