"Boarders" by Paul Verlaine

Translated by Christopher Mulrooney

Fifteen was one, the other quite sixteen since;
Both of them slept together in one room.
It was a September evening full of gloom:
They were frail, blue-eyed, with strawberry tints.

Each had doffed, to make herself at ease,
Her nightgown fresh with scent of amber.
The younger stretches her arms, and arches her back,
And her sister, with hands on her breasts, gives her a kiss,

Then falls upon her knees, and then grows tipsy
And tumultuous and mad, and her lips
Plunge beneath the blond gold, into shadows;

And the child, during all this while, recounts
Upon her dainty fingers promised waltzes,
And, rose-pink, smiles with innocence.

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