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The Bee
by Paul Valery

So deadly delicate your sting!
Yet, O golden bee, I place
Over this soft curve, saddening,
Nothing but a dream of lace.

Prick the breast’s fine gourd and press
Home where love dies, where sleeps his spell!
Thus may some of my rosiness
Rise to the round and stubborn flesh!

I need a hurt that’s keen and swift.
A torment prompt and soon done with
Is better than one that sleeping lies.

O may my body be made warm
By this tiny gold alarm
Without which love sleeps or dies!

 

translation Lionel Abel