Friday, November 27, 2009

the elevation


it sometimes helps
to rise above as much of what we know as

"it all"

as is possible.

the rewards are often short
and just as often quickly forgotten.

but the feeling of release
from the tangled webs of daily life
is palpable and healing.



the elevation

above the valleys, over rills and meres,
above the mountains, woods, the oceans, clouds,
beyond the sun, past all ethereal bounds,
beyond the borders of the starry spheres,

my agile spirit, how you take your flight!
like a strong swimmer swooning on the sea
you gaily plough the vast immensity
with manly, inexpressible delight.

fly far above this morbid, vaporous place;
go cleanse yourself in higher, finer air,
and drink up, like a pure, divine liqueur,
bright fire, out of clear and limpid space.

beyond ennui, past troubles and ordeals
tthat load our dim existence with their weight,
happy the strong-winged man, who makes the great
leap upward to the bright and peaceful fields!

the man whose thoughts, like larks, take to their wings
each morning, freely speeding through the air,
- who soars above this life, interpreter
of flowers' speech, the voice of silent things!

translated by james mcgowan

16 comments:

Phoenix said...

It is indeed wonderful to escape 'it all' once in a while. The poem was a classic, and made me look up Charles Baudelaire. He seems to have had a not-so-ordinary life, and I guess it influenced his philosophy and take on things.

steven said...

hi phoenix!! i was working at the university yesterday and i had the chance to get away from "it all" in terms of my class. i love my class but a day away is really lovely just to get some perspective. yeah, baudelaire's life was a little different. have a lovely day. steven

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

"Go cleanse yourself in higher, finer air" . . . And guess what, if one can not do so physically, one can do it in imagination and have a refreshing, cleansing moment as well. Thanks steven.

steven said...

hi bonnie - there's lots of murk down here on "the ground" and it's so easy to become immersed in it. rising above it allows me to deal with it in a compassionate and genuine manner. thanks for visiting bonnie! steven

Golden West said...

After following your link and reading a bit about him, no wonder Baudelaire used phrases like "dim existence" and "morbid, vaporous place" - he made some dark choices in his life.

ellen abbott said...

Something I need to do as the christmas hysteria get into full swing.

The Weaver of Grass said...

I am a great believer in rising above things steven - not always possible but always to be aimed at.

Friko said...

more wonderful words and fabulous pictures,
my admiration continues to grow.

"It all" is indeed dragging us down to the ground, never to feel free and 'elevated', except when people like you remind us.

Bella said...

wonderful poem! thanx for the lift, it sure hit the spot!

Pauline said...

..."the voice of silent things." Lovely!

steven said...

hello golden west - yes he did but i wonder how much of that darkness fueled his muse? steven

steven said...

ellen - i love christmas and manage to stay away from much of the hysteria by not going to malls. there's lots of it all over the place but i try to keep it as simple and local and especially family-centred as possible. steven

steven said...

weaver - me too! not so much avoidance as trying to keep a perspective on life that allows for joy. steven

steven said...

friko - its so central to surviving and then to celebrating - which is one step above survival. but you know that! steven

steven said...

hi bella - you're very welcome. i'm glad that you could come by! steven

steven said...

pauline - those are my favourite words in this poem. because they tell a truth that we all know but which remains tucked away. steven