Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Be Drunk

Be Drunk
Charles Baudelaire

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."

Translated by Louis Simpson, text via poets.org.

For more on the uses of drunkenness, read "Aristotle -- The Wisdom of Silenus." (Worth clicking over just for the clip of Nureyev dancing The Afternoon of a Faun.)

The lineage of Silenus can be found at theoi.com

The Misfortunes of Silenus, Piero di Cosimo, 1505-1510

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