We spent an evening of it recently with a host of friends who came by… an inspiration for this entry. Much love to Morgan, PK, & Terry…
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A Visual Meditation:
Poetry: The Delights of Absinthe
“After the first glass you see things as you wish they were.
After the second, you see things as they are not.
Finally you see things as they really are,
and that is the most horrible thing in the world.”
“If he didn’t drink [absinthe], he would be somebody else.
Personality must be accepted for what it is.
You mustn’t mind that a poet is a drunk,
rather that drunks are not always poets.”
“Absinthe has a wonderful color, green.
A glass of absinthe is as poetical as anything in the world.
What difference is there between a glass of absinthe and a sunset?”
“The only way to get rid of a temptation, is to yield to it…”
From the sickroom’s chloral smelling pillows,
darkened by suffocated sighs
and hitherto unheard blasphemes;
from the bedside table,
encumbered with medicinal bottles,
prayer books and Heine,
I stumbled out on the balcony
to look at the sea.
Shrouded in my flowered blanket
I let the October sun shine
on my yellow cheeks
and onto a bottle of absinthe,
green as the sea,
green as the spruce twigs
on a snowy street
where a funeral cortège had gone ahead.
The sea was dead calm
and the wind slept –
as if nothing had passed!
Then came a butterfly,
a brown awful butterfly,
which once was a caterpillar
but now crawled its way up
out of a newly set heap of leaves,
fooled by the sunshine
Trembling from cold
he sat down
on my flowered blanket.
And he chose among the roses
and the anilin lilacs
the smallest and the ugliest one –
how can one be so stupid!
When the hour had passed
and I got up
to go and get inside,
he still sat there,
the stupid butterfly.
He had fulfilled his destiny
and was dead,
the stupid bastard!
-August Strindberg – Translated by Markus Hartsmar, February 2007
That night I drank deeply
That night, the night before my wedding day,
I drank deeply and long of my favourite nectar.
Glass after glass I prepared, and drained each one off with insatiable and ever-increasing appetite.
I drank till the solid walls of my own room, when I at last found myself there,
appeared to me like transparent glass, shot throughout with emerald flame.
Surrounded on all sides by phantoms.
Beautiful, hideous, angelic, devilish.
I reeled to my couch in a sort of waking swoon, conscious of strange sounds everywhere,
like the clanging of brazen bells, and the silver fanfaranade of the trumpets of war,
conscious too of a similar double sensation –
namely, as though Myself were divided into two persons, who opposed each other in deadly combat,
in which neither could possibly obtain even the merest shadow-victory!