"I'd like to think that people in pubs would talk about my poems" - Larkin.
I liked Larkin's idea of poetry being accessible to everyone, and something that everyman could relate to. I took this quote quite literally I'm afraid. Most pubs have masses of graffiti in the ladys' loo, mostly about someone being a slag or how much they love their boyfriend etc etc. Most of it is pretty awful, but occasionally you do come across something quite witty and profound. This particular pub toilet was covered in meaningless scrawls, so I thought it a perfect place to add an extract from Be Drunk by Charles Baudelaire. I find it quite a powerful piece of writing, and love the idea of someone going in there, drunk, and reading it and just stopping for a moment to think. To be honest, with most of these poems, I don't expect much from people's reactions. If it just makes one person stop and think then that's good enough for me. I loitered around for a bit to see people's reactions as they went in. They ranged from "oooh we've got a poet in the house somewhere", to "what the fuck does that mean?"
The full poem:
Charles Baudelaire - Be drunk
You have to always be drunk. That's all there is to it- it's the only way. So as not to feel the horrible burden of time that breaks your back and bends you to the earth, you have to be continually drunk.
But on what? Wine, poetry or virtue, as you wish. But be drunk.
And if sometimes, on the steps of a palace or the green grass of a ditch, in the mournful solitude of your room, you wake again, drunkenness already diminishing or gone, ask the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock, everything that is flying, everything that is groaning, everything that is rolling, everything that is singing, everything that is speaking... ask what time it is and wind, wave, star, bird, clock, will answer you: "It is time to be drunk! So as not to be the martyred slaves of time, be drunk, be continually drunk! On wine, on poetry or virtue as you wish."