Back to Baudelaire’s basics…

Baudelaire is old school, old school kinda cool. He took words from the hands of the Romantics and wielded them into the brave new world of tempting rhymes and lusty imagination (I’m not saying Keats and Blake didn’t do this, I’m just saying Baudelaire bangs it). Whenever I read Baudelaire, I feel his words as if they were meant for my state of mind. His attitude to art against the back-drop of his at-times menial life makes art come alive, and beauty stretch over your mind as if you’ve just spent the last ten minutes in an eye-lock with the most beautiful man in the room. I have always loved the purity of C19th poets; how can you not admire their complete devotion to the beauty of art purely for the sake of art itself? Poets, especially Baudelaire have the power to sweep you away into brief moments of unadulterated pleasure, be it in reflections of previous conversations, finger-locking-lip-locking-procreation, nature’s causation or new sensations, beauty exists in your world again because Baudelaire showed you it was there.

This is a good way to think about things, because if you spend too long in the cracks, beauty fades away into a distant memory that you can’t replay.

Baudelaire’s poem ‘Hymn to Beauty’ doesn’t question the source of its inspiration, but rather the sensation. The feeling of pleasure from both sides of the good and bad coin. In this poem Baudelaire calls beauty an ‘artless monster‘ that answers for nothing and ‘scatters perfume like a stormy night‘, and right now I can’t think of anything more on point than these ball-busting-life-lusting lines licking at the heels of social-obligation, pragmatism, moral inclinations and all that other boring bullshit that no-one wants to think about.

Anyway, all I’m trying to say is that next time you think of, or bump into beauty, let it flow, let it grow, and let it remind you that life is not necessarily about what is good and what is bad, but rather what makes you feel divine, so don’t think twice, do whatever the fuck you think feels nice.

Cheers for the advice Baudelaire, top bloke.

I hope you enjoy CB’s poem just as much as I do:


O Beauty! do you visit from the sky
Or the abyss? infernal and divine,
Your gaze bestows both kindnesses and crimes,
So it is said you act on us like wine.

Your eye contains the evening and the dawn;
You pour out odours like an evening storm;
Your kiss is potion from an ancient jar,
That can make heroes cold and children warm.

Are you of heaven or the nether world?
Charmed Destiny, your pet, attends your walk;
You scatter joys and sorrows at your whim,
And govern all, and answer no man’s call.

Beauty, you walk on corpses, mocking them;
Horror is charming as your other gems,
And Murder is a trinket dancing there
Lovingly on your naked belly’s skin.

You are a candle where the mayfly dies
In flames, blessing this fire’s deadly bloom.
The panting lover bending to his love
Looks like a dying man who strokes his tomb.

What difference, then, from heaven or from hell,
O Beauty, monstrous in simplicity?
If eye, smile, step can open me the way
To find unknown, sublime infinity?

Angel or siren, spirit, I don’t care,
As long as velvet eyes and perfumed head
And glimmering motions, o my queen, can make
The world less dreadful, and the time less dead.


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