Search more than 3,000 biographies of contemporary and classic poets.

Roger Fanning

By This Poet


Baudelaire's Ablutions

Baudelaire, dead broke, nonetheless allowed himself 
two hours for his morning ablutions.
(Warm water can be a narcotic too.) 
His razor scraping whiskers cleanly off 
sounded like a file rassrasping 
against prison bars. Never did this man 
gulp a cup of coffee, bolt out the door 
with a blob of shaving cream on one ear, 
and go to a job. He composed himself. 
Dead broke, he explored (in prose) six waterdrops 
that quake in a corner of Delacroix's painting 
Dante and Virgil! Meanwhile, through his window 
intruded softly the spiel of a fishmonger 
as well as the stench. Many, many vendors still 
singsong their wares, as a sort of wishwash drizzle 
inducing human animals to mope, to yawn. 
We all get bored: between mainstream culture (buy things) 
and nature (in this case, rain), people tend to snooze. 
Poetry jolts awake the lucky few. I praise 
the mirror-gazing mighty poet Baudelaire, 
my hero, a fop full of compulsions, 
a perfectionist to whom a single 
tweezered nosehair brought tears of joy.