It's National Poetry Month, so I wanted to share a little poem with all 3 of you loyal readers out there. I somehow had never encountered this poem until today, when someone posted it on the private Facebook group for my neighborhood pub, The Brendan Behan (yes, there's a private social group for pub regulars in addition to the standard FB page, and of course, a pub named for Brendan Behan would have a bunch of drunken literary fanatics). It's by a French writer named Charles Baudelaire, and while this translation might not be as remarkable for its use of language/imagery/poetic devices (I can't speak to it in French, although there is a picture of the original French below), I think it accurately sums up the artist's mind (by exploring and exploiting substance abuse and addiction, naturally, because art.)
And so, without further ado: "Get Drunk."
Always be drunk.
The great imperative!
In order not to feel
Time's horrid fardel
bruise your shoulders,
grinding you into the earth,
Get drunk and stay that way.
On wine, poetry, virtue, whatever.
But get drunk.
And if you sometimes happen to wake up
on the porches of a palace,
in the green grass of a ditch,
in the dismal loneliness of your own room,
your drunkenness gone or disappearing,
ask the wind,
ask everything that flees,
everything that groans
everything that speaks,
ask what time it is;
and the wind,
will answer you:
"Time to get drunk!
Don't be martyred slaves of Time,
On wine, virtue, poetry, whatever!"
Meanwhile, if you want some more poetry, my good friend Brian McGackin has been sharing a new poem by a different poet for every day of the month over on his blog. And take it from me — his taste in poetry is at least as good if not better than his taste in friends.