Sunday, January 09, 2011

Another absinthe poem

I have been meaning for ages to dig out some more poems on absinthe, but I only just got around to applying myself to this task. I rather like this fine evocation of the feeling of being pleasantly wasted during the daytime - a feeling I haven't known in... a year or two, I would guess. For all its image as a non-stop party town, Beijing doesn't seem to be a place where people indulge in daytime drinking.

The Absinthe Drinker

Gently I wave the visible world away.
Far off, I hear a roar, afar yet near,
Far off and strange, a voice is in my ear,
And is the voice my own? the words I say
Fall strangely, like a dream, across the day;
And the dim sunshine is a dream. How clear,
New as the world to lovers' eyes, appear
The men and women passing on their way.

The world is very fair. The hours are all
Linked in a dance of mere forgetfulness.
I am at peace with God and man. O glide,
Sands of the hour-glass that I count not, fall
Serenely: scarce I feel your soft caress,
Rocked on this dreamy and indifferent tide.

Arthur Symons (1865-1945)

[Picasso's Portrait of Angel Fernandez de Soto (The Absinthe Drinker) sold at Christie's a few months ago for $51.2 million.]

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