Thursday, January 1, 2009

Be Drunk!

Here is a fabulous poem by French poet and Parisian dandy, Charles Baudelaire (click on his name for a full biography- fascinating!)

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."

I must say that I like his premise although I might pick a tray full of vodka martinis over the wine.

Poetry- I can live with that as long as it's not been written by me. It takes a lot of good, precise thinking to churn out a good poem. I tried it a few times but decided to abandon it as foolishness and hackery- I'm pretty rotten at it.

Virtue? I draw the line at virtue. This word originally meant "manliness" so I find that unacceptable. However, I guess I can't get too hung up on a 900 year old definition so the new very succinct definition (abbreviated by me to meet my own selfish purposes) is goodness. I suppose I could do a few things to embrace goodness...

  • return my grocery cart to the corral
  • wave at the neighbors
  • smile when greeting the more grating associates with whom I share office space
  • stop making Peter eat vegetables. No wait, that's dumb, glad he's at Grandma's.
  • stop swearing like a longshoreman
  • give more- church, the foodbank, at the Y
  • spend more time on the happy side of my brain
  • cook more- with butter

Those are sounding a bit like resolutions and I hate those. I will re-name them "My 2009 Baudelairean Virtue Endeavors". Much more scientific don't you think?

Anyway, hope your New Year's Eve was safe and that 2009 is starting out with a bang. Now, go drum yourself up some Baudelairean Virtue!


Toasty said...

I'm with you... being drunk AND spending more time on the happy side. Cheers!

Teri said...

I can't remember the path I walked to find your blog, but I like your new years resolutions and had to say hello and follow you.

Teri and the cats of Furrydance

Teri said...

Oops, I meant Baudelairean Virtue Endeavors.

JBA said...

Thanks for visiting! Try saying Baudelairean Virtue Endeavors 5 times fast after four martinis! Whoo Hoo!