Sunday, July 24, 2011

Anny Ballardini and Baudelaire

Happy Birthday

As the poet said, "It's easy to be a Romantic if you don't have to mind the evidence." But what if the evidence won't ignore you, but rather, it "minds" you incessantly with its brute obtrusion, distensions of  ego, chaos of meager lusts, whiny confusions, etc.? At such a crossing of the possible and actual, one of the most abiding fountains of grace has its source (which Baudelaire, perhaps, gives voice to, especially when seen set against the draining realization--implicit in the poem's final word--of what is, even as it includes him). Add to the grace of one who fronts this stupidity without losing an inner openness or willingness or love for existence, another: that others love one for it! An abundance of abundances, like a billowing of birthdays, the best one might expect. Of certain note in the world even (especially) against the resounding emptiness after the death of a beloved parent.

(There are lines in Anny's poem which strain the meter on Emily's popped-top-of-head test.)

                                               --Anny Ballardini

Baudelaire and my father
One dandy the other simple
One Parisian the other a New Yorker lover of mountains
Why did I look for my father in Baudelaire
For Baudelaire in my father?

Est-ce le spleen?
Does it imprint people like color
A scent you breathe where
There’s the stagnant paradox
Of an excess of love?
Silent sorrow
Gentle hidden painful retraction
Faced [over and over again] with insensitive distance
From the freezing surrounding outside
The selfish gratuitous disregard of their need
Struggling alone in their abÎmes
Who and how could [I] ever fill
Cross through, reach out/into _ grasp
Their one Truth
By my father mystified in a sublime Je crois
By Baudelaire in L’Art
Irony by Baudelaire
Ironical hinting by you, my Father
My accomplice
Happy Birthday

July 2, 2011


          --Charles Baudelaire

Music doth oft uplift me like a sea
     Towards my planet pale,
Then through dark fogs or heaven's infinity
      I lift my wandering sail.

With breast advanced, drinking the winds that flee,
      And through the cordage wail,
I mount the hurrying waves night hides from me
     Beneath her sombre veil.

I feel the tremblings of all passions known
     To ships before the breeze;
Cradled by gentle winds, or tempest-blown

     I pass the abysmal seas
That are, when calm, the mirror level and fair
      Of my despair!

(from The Poems and Prose Poems of Charles Baudelaire, edited by James Huneker)


Short bio:

Anny Ballardini lives in Bolzano, Italy.  She grew up in New York, lived in New Orleans, Buenos Aires, Florence, completed her studies with an MFA at UNO, University of New Orleans.  A poet, translator and interpreter, she recently won a scholarship for a PhD in English at the U of Verona, she also teaches high school; edits Poet’s Corner, an online poetry site; and writes a blog: Narcissus Works.  She has translated several contemporary poets into Italian and English.  Her collections of poetry: Opening and Closing Numbers, was published by Moria Press in 2005; Ghost Dance in 33 Movements by Otoliths appeared in print in 2009.


  1. The resounding emptiness after the death of a beloved parent echoes the abysmal calm seas of Baudelaire's despair - and yours, too! Great stuff!! Christina Pacosz

  2. Thank you dear Christina for your intelligent reading.

  3. Cara Anny,

    Kiss out against the surrounding cold. Love is everything.