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Poem of the Day--Charles Baudelaire

By John Published: April 8, 2010

I've always liked this affirmation of life by one of France's famous poets. I had a chance in my youth to meet the translator, the great American poet of suburban life, Louis Simpson.

Be Drunk

by Charles Baudelaire

Translated by Louis Simpson

You have to be always drunk. That's all there is to itit'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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