Joel Sattler ~ Don Juan in Hell

[based on “Don Juan aux Enfers”
from FLEURS DU MAL by Charles Baudelaire]

when Don Juan went down to the River Styx
and paid his alms to Charon the ferryman
like the cynical prophet Antisthenes, the pupil of old Socrates
a beggar grabbed the oars and sneered again

under the black and dusky roof
sad fat women writhed and ripped their clothes
and a herd of victims trailed behind
and from them wails and moans arose

Sganarelle, Don Juan’s valet
laughed and laughed demanding more
Don pointed to the mocking son
while all the dead walked on the shore

Don Juan
Don Juan
Don Juan
in Hell !

Elvira shivered under grief
chaste and lean in disbelief
to see the treacherous husband cheat
in memory of first love so brief

the situation seemed to demand
a certain sweetness smile supreme
for all the ardor that once was
or might have been as in a dream

a man of stone stood in his armor
and at the helm cut waters free
and leaning on his sword of valor
pretended that he didn’t see

Don Juan
Don Juan
Don Juan
in Hell !


Joel Sattler is a bookseller, and has been published in a number of different places. This poem has previously appeared on the songwriting site Read more of Joel’s poetry in DM 91 ~ Kinderszenen.

AF 3

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