Bibliophiliac is the space where one passionate, voracious reader reflects on books and the reading life. You will find reviews, analysis, links, and reflections on poetry and prose both in and out of the mainstream.

A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. Franz Kafka

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Drunk on Moonlight

The tide was coming in tonight, and after the brutal heat of the day my husband and I relished our walk on the beach.  It was a conjunction of all things good and beautiful:  moonrise, sunset, and high tide all occurred at nearly the same time.  A full moon hung in the sky, yellow against the darkening sky.  Over the water, a pink and yellow streaked sky.  A hawk flew up into a scrubby pine and watched us.  Waves beat against the shore.  Walking back toward the spot where our car was parked I felt the pull of the tide and walked into the mesmerizing light of the moon reflected on the waves.  I thought of this poem by Charles Baudelaire:

One should always be drunk.  That's all that matters; that's our one imperative need.  So as not to feel Time's horrible burden that breaks your shoulders and bows you down, you must get drunk without ceasing.
But what with?  With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you choose.  But get drunk.
 And if, at some time, on the steps of a palace, in the green grass of a ditch, in the bleak solitude of your room, you are waking up when drunkenness has already abated, ask the wind, the wave, a star, the clock, all that which flees, all that which groans, all that which rolls, all that which sings, all that which speaks, ask them what time it is; and the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock will reply:  'It is time to get drunk!  So that you may not be the martyred slaves of Time, get drunk; get drunk, and never pause for rest! With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you choose!'

from Twenty Prose Poems by Charles Baudelaire, translated by Michael Hamburger


Andi said...

Beautiful! And I am completely envious that you get to live somewhere as beautiful as Hilton Head. I've only visited once, when I was at an academic conference, but would love to go back.

B said...

Wow I really love this. Thanks for sharing.

bibliophiliac said...

@Andi-living here really is beautiful--and I came here by the merest chance. I love the ocean, and being near water makes up for a lot!

Judith said...

Superb, sublime, and incroyable!

I am going to memorize this poem and act on it and love it.

I'm so grateful you shared it.!

Judith (Reader in the Wilderness)

bibliophiliac said...

@Judith-Baudelaire might tempt me to learn French, if I didn't have so many other things to do before I die. You have to love this guy! Another poem begins: "You'd sleep with anyone you slut."

BookQuoter said...

That is such a beautiful poem.

I know what you mean by those beach walks. I have always been amazed by how vast the beaches are there.

So glad you like my new look. I was forced to change or pay.


bibliophiliac said...

@everyone who doesn't live at the beach: this might make you feel better--it is 10pm and the heat index is 101....