“O fleecy hair, falling in curls to the shoulders!
O black locks! O perfume laden with nonchalance!
Ecstasy! To people the dark alcove tonight
With memories sleeping in that thick head of hair.
I would like to shake it in the air like a scarf!
Sweltering Africa and languorous Asia,
A whole far-away world, absent, almost defunct,
Dwells in your depths, aromatic forest!
While other spirits glide on the wings of music,
Mine, O my love! floats upon your perfume…”
These words are the beginning of “La Chevelure” a poem by French poet Charles Baudelaire from “Les Fleurs du Mal (Flowers of Evil)” published in 1851.
This is a link to the original poem in French with several translations in English,
This picture was shot along the Ganges in Varanasi (Benaras).
After taking a bath in the holy waters, this lady was styling her long white hair under the sun.
She was old, beautiful, graceful and bearing the quintessence of femininity.
This is why Baudelaire’s words came to me quite naturally as he was the base of my educational journey when I was a teenager…
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