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Be Drunk

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.”

-by Charles Baudelaire (translated by Louis Simpson)

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The Albatros

Sometimes to entertain themselves,
the men of the crew
Lure upon the deck an unlucky albatross, one of those vast birds of the sea
that follow unwearied the voyage through,
Flying in slow and elegant circles
above the mast.

No sooner have they disentangled him
from their nets
Than this aerial colossus, shorn of his pride,
Goes hobbling pitiably across the planks
and lets His great wings hang
like heavy, useless oars at his side.

How droll is the poor floundering creature,
how limp and weak,
He, but a moment past so lordly,
flying in state!
They tease him; One of them tries
to stick a pipe in his beak;
Another mimics with laughter his odd, lurching gait.

The poet is like that wild inheritor of the cloud,
A rider of storms above the range of arrows and slings;
Exiled on earth, at bay amid the jeering crowd,
He cannot walk for his unmanageable wings.

-Charles Baudelaire

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