...so we refuse to take it tragically. The cataclysm has happened, we are among the ruins, we start to build up new little habitats, to have new little hopes. It is rather hard work: there is now no smooth road into the future: but we go round, or scramble over the obstacles. We have to live, no matter how many skies have fallen.
Failure, disgrace, poverty, sorrow, despair, suffering, tears even, the broken words that come from lips in pain, remorse that makes one walk on thorns, conscience that condemns, self-abasement that punishes, the misery that puts ashes on its head, the anguish that chooses sack-cloth for its raiment and into its own drink puts gall:- all these were things of which I was afraid. And as I had determined to know nothing of them, I was forced to taste each of them in turn, to feed on them, to have for a season, indeed, no other food at all.
And I will stroll the merry way And jump the hedges first And I will drink the clear Clean water for to quench my thirst And I shall watch the ferry-boats And they’ll get high On a bluer ocean Against tomorrow’s sky And I will never grow so old again And I will walk and talk In gardens all wet with rain
Oh sweet thing, sweet thing My, my, my, my, my sweet thing And I shall drive my chariot Down your streets and cry ‘Hey, it’s me, I’m dynamite And I don’t know why’ And you shall take me strongly In your arms again And I will not remember That I even felt the pain. We shall walk and talk In gardens all misty and wet with rain And I will never, never, never Grow so old again.
Oh sweet thing, sweet thing My, my, my, my, my sweet thing And I will raise my hand up Into the night time sky And count the stars That’s shining in your eye Just to dig it all an’ not to wonder That’s just fine And I’ll be satisfied Not to read in between the lines And I will walk and talk In gardens all wet with rain And I will never, ever, ever, ever Grow so old again. Oh sweet thing, sweet thing Sugar-baby with your champagne eyes And your saint-like smile….
There is no escape. You can’t be a vagabond and an artist and still be a solid citizen, a wholesome, upstanding man. You want to get drunk, so you have to accept the hangover. You say yes to the sunlight and pure fantasies, so you have to say yes to the filth and the nausea. Everything is within you, gold and mud, happiness and pain, the laughter of childhood and the apprehension of death. Say yes to everything, shirk nothing. Don’t try to lie to yourself. You are not a solid citizen. You are not a Greek. You are not harmonious, or the master of yourself. You are a bird in the storm. Let it storm! Let it drive you! How much have you lied! A thousand times, even in your poems and books, you have played the harmonious man, the wise man, the happy, the enlightened man. In the same way, men attacking in war have played heroes, while their bowels twitched. My God, what a poor ape, what a fencer in the mirror man is— particularly the artist— particularly myself!