Discussion → Be Drunk

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    Ann Bogle
    Mar 17, 07:54am

    Be Drunk
    by Charles Baudelaire
    Translated by Louis Simpson

    You have to be always drunk. That's all there is to it—it's the only way. So as not to feel the horrible burden of time that breaks your back and bends you to the earth, you have to be continually drunk.

    But on what? Wine, poetry or virtue, as you wish. But be drunk.

    And if sometimes, on the steps of a palace or the green grass of a ditch, in the mournful solitude of your room, you wake again, drunkenness already diminishing or gone, ask the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock, everything that is flying, everything that is groaning, everything that is rolling, everything that is singing, everything that is speaking. . .ask what time it is and wind, wave, star, bird, clock will answer you: "It is time to be drunk! So as not to be the martyred slaves of time, be drunk, be continually drunk! On wine, on poetry or on virtue as you wish."


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    Susan Tepper
    Mar 17, 09:35am

    Baudelaire definitely had the gift. This is so great for St. Paddys' Day. Ann, thanks for bringing this one into the light

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    Sam Rasnake
    Mar 17, 10:02am

    Thanks for the Baudelaire, Ann. Good piece.

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    Doug Bond
    Mar 17, 11:27am

    Ann--well timed and great to it posted here in Paddy's room...answer the will to flight and with the wings take care and the wax...beware!

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    Finnegan Flawnt
    Mar 17, 11:51am

    ah. confession time.

    ann's exquisite find reminds me of my fifteen-year-old self in 1978 walking around in the paris cemetery of pere lachaise trying to find the remnants of baudelaire, hoping for his late blessings. instead (baudelaire, as i learnt much later, was buried on montparnasse cemetery, miles away) i found, better suited to paddy day, the grave of Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde and the traces of late love made me swap baudelaire for wilde, which is why i can laugh today. it looked pretty much the same 30 years ago:


    with the dark epitaph:

    "And alien tears will fill for him
    Pity's long-broken urn,
    For his mourners will be outcast men,
    And outcasts always mourn."

    so - be drunk if you wish, but certainly be outcast.

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