Poetry: Be drunk by Charles Baudelaire

French poet Charles Baudelaire.

French poet Charles Baudelaire.

Everyone knows that most great poets were also very good drinkers. So it is high time to share some of their creations. From time to time we’ll bring you poems on drinking, odes to booze and adventures under intoxication. We start off with the French 19th century poet Charles Baudelaire. This poem (translated by Louis Simpson) has the catching title ‘Be Drunk’. A true masterpiece.

 

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.”

 

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8 thoughts on “Poetry: Be drunk by Charles Baudelaire

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  2. Poems on drinking is a great idea. I love this quote and the whole poetry/drinking mash-up. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, ‘Everyone who drinks is not a poet. Maybe some of us drink because we’re not poets.’ (from the movie Arthur.) Thanks for the post. I’m looking forward to more on this topic.

    Like

  3. Pingback: Poetry about alcohol and drinking | Lords of the Drinks

  4. Pingback: Poetry: Booze by Danny Mell | Lords of the Drinks

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