Baudelaire was, for me, the kind of poet only certain kinds of people liked. Well, call me a hardheaded New England Pragmatist, but there was something sort of suspiciously sickly about this guy. Not necessarily dying to be anywhere else or doing much else. My oldest friend, a fine poet and a dedicated teacher and a loving husband and father, just loved this stuff when we were growing up.
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Baudelaire was, for me, the kind of poet only certain kinds of people liked. Well, call me a hardheaded New England Pragmatist, but there was something sort of suspiciously sickly about this guy.
Not necessarily dying to be anywhere else or doing much else. My oldest friend, a fine poet and a dedicated teacher and a loving husband and father, just loved this stuff when we were growing up. Still does, in fact. It inspired him. I was just pretty definitively turned-off by an elaborately detailed, mockingly erotic poem about finding a maggot-teeming corpse, spreadeagled, in the middle of a spring stroll with your lover Nothing I like better than a fine and appreciative literary assessment.
So that planted the seed, as did time and experience. Ok, well, sure, but so what? I never understood what his kind of visionary poetics really meant, what it did and where it brought the craft of poetry and the interested, open-minded reader.
I think in some ways this is the kind of poetry that you need to grow into. Everybody knows by now that he was into hashish and absinthe and that he had plenty of torrid affairs and that he blew through most of his inheritance on the finest linens and dandied it up something fierce What I think I missed out on initially was the old soul that shifts and speaks within these tortured, skeptical, vivid, tastefully arranged and somehow gruesomely challenging poems.
Angel of gladness, do you know of pain? Angel of kindness, do you know of hatred, Clenched fists in the shadow, tears of gall, When Vengeance beats his hellish call to arms, And makes himself the captain of our will? Angel of kindness, do you know revenge?
Angel of health, do you know of disease? Angel of beauty, do you know of wrinkles, Fear of growing old, the great torment To read the horror of self-sacrifice In eyes our avid eyes had drunk for years? Angel of beauty, do you know these lines? Angel of fortune, happiness and light, David in dying might have claimed the health That radiates from your enchanted flesh; But, angel, I implore only your prayers, Angel of fortune, happiness and light! I was reading this at work, looking out through the big windows and watching cold night full of pissing rain trembling in the puddles on the corner of the opposite side of the street, sky all black, stained yellow streetlights, city spaces, melancholic, churning I think I get it now.
Sometimes you have to pick the flowers yourself.
Baudelaire Charles - Florile Raului
baudelaire florile raului