Custom Search

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Time's Horrid Burden

Sometimes, it feels as if time has a weight, doesn't it? We are heavier, our steps are like the steps of a diver on the sea bottom. We have lost our lightness and the colours have faded.

Salvador Dali, The Persistence of Memory or the Melting Clocks

Recently I was browsing through my father's collection of Charles Baudelaire's 'Petits Poemes en Prose' when I came upon a text which I have liked since high school. I wanted to share it with you.

It gives a solution to the above situation and the solution is: get drunk.

Il faut être toujours ivre, tout est là ; c'est l'unique question. Pour ne pas sentir l'horrible fardeau du temps qui brise vos épaules et vous penche vers la terre, il faut vous enivrer sans trêve.

Mais de quoi? De vin, de poésie, ou de vertu à votre guise, mais enivrez-vous!
Et si quelquefois, sur les marches d'un palais, sur l'herbe verte d'un fossé, vous vous réveillez, l'ivresse déjà diminuée ou disparue, demandez au vent, à la vague, à
l'étoile, à l'oiseau, à l'horloge; à tout ce qui fuit, à tout ce qui gémit, à tout ce qui roule, à tout ce qui chante, à tout ce qui parle, demandez quelle heure il est. Et le vent, la vague, l'étoile, l'oiseau, l'horloge, vous répondront, il est l'heure de s'enivrer ; pour ne pas être les esclaves martyrisés du temps, enivrez-vous, enivrez-vous sans cesse de vin, de poésie, de vertu, à votre guise.

Get Drunk
Get Drunk. Always be drunk. That's it! 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 what? 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, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock, ask everything that flees,
everything that groans or rolls or sings, everything that speaks, ask what time it is; and the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock will answer you: "Time to get drunk! Don't be martyred slaves of Time, Get drunk! Stay drunk! On wine, virtue, poetry, whatever!"

I know that this is not exactly a call for a healthy life style but Baudelaire gives us so many alternatives for getting drunk and alcohol is only one of them. Baudelaire is not paid by some wine producer and points out that poetry and virtue are also options. There must be dozens of other methods like making pictures in order to stop the passing time, playing scrabble or even cutting one's carbon footprint (I am sure Baudelaire missed that one).

But what if soberness is the intoxicating substance? Well, so be it: drunk by soberness is quite original, isn't it?

The bottomline is that we'd better find our way unless we really insist on staying sober and then risk being crashed by time's horrid burden.

'What's the time?', I am asking the dark night over Buda. It's time for a Cuba Libre.


Alessandra said...

I like it! And it is making me think on what I'd like to be drunk of... (for sure not alcohol)

Ruslan said...

Hehe, Alessandra, aren't you drunk by your Zolies already? Si many Zolies - you must be really drunk.

A Thousand Clapping Hands said...

Thanks for the Baudelaire.

I've been to both extremes - long periods of abstinence and then the other. I like them both, really. But I prefer a life with wine.
Enjoy your Cuba Libre! Cheers!


willow said...

I'm raising my Boleslawiec mug in a toast to drunkeness! Drunk with all the lovely elements of life.

Delwyn said...

good morning to you

I think Joseph Campbell would call this following your passion - because when you do and are immersed you lose track of time...

Happy days

Lorac said...


julochka said...

wow, i really love this post! getting drunk on life, that's what it's about isn't it? tho' i don't mind wine as well...

Jelica said...

...or Cuba Libre (more fitting for the summer)...

Ruslan said...


Yes, wine, cuba libre, poetry and what not? Any innovative idea for good drinks on long summer evenings?


What os a Boleslawiec mug? It sounds mysterious.


Thanks for the reference, Yes, that's what it is. I checked and Campbell calls it 'follow your bliss'. Of course, Baudelaire put it in kind of darker terms, quite typical for this period of French literature.


Getting drunk on life is more important I think. Soberness is a bit difficult after that but...then comes the time to get drunk again.

B said...

I like the idea of getting drunk on ideas, or words! Lovely post!