On this most auspicious day, I suppose I have to put fingertips to keyboard and thoughts on screen. Here goes:
A thousand voices,
The marching feet approaching.
Growing louder and louder.
Determination etched in the words on their placards.
Courage in their feet, bravery in their voices.
Grown men hugging rifles.
Scared witless of –
Defiance? Black faces?
Grown men scared of children.
Children they knew they had wronged.
Children they were about to kill.
Children who did what their fathers/mothers could not.
Children we can only hope to become when we grow up.
Be Drunk by Charles Baudelaire
[Translated by Louis Simpson]
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.