by Arthur Symons
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 lover's 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.
Absinthe has a wonderful colour, green. A glass of absinthe is as poetical as anything in the world. What difference is there bewteen a glass of absinthe and a sunset? - Oscar Wilde
Two of our favorite things mentioned in a single joke - absinthe and HP Lovecraft!
HP Lovecraft and August Derleth are sitting at an al fresco cafe on the abominable plateau of Leng. Sipping absinthe, as you do. It’d be a nice place if it wasn’t for the maddening cyclopean architecture with the obviously alien non-Euclidean geometry, but it’s the only spot for unthinkably vast distances and it’s got a lovely view, so you make do.
As they sit there, the ground before them becomes disturbed by the passing of a great Dhole, burrowing beneath the earth, space rippling around it as it goes.
They sip their absinthe as the Dhole is followed by a Mi-Go, flapping and screeching - the noise driving several nearby patrons mad.
A shoggoth comes after, shambling along. It takes some time to pass, so they order another round of absinthe.
Then a long train of the spawn of Shub-Niggurath, the Black Goat of the Woods, ooze, crawl and tilt their way past - the locomotive systems reminiscent of slime running down a rock… but sideways… unthinkably sideways.
Then for a moment, there’s quiet and the plateau is empty… and Derleth turns to Lovecraft and says…
“Good Lord, Howard. Today it’s just one damned thing after another.”(Thanks to Grim Reviews)
La légende de l'Absinthe by Aleister Crowley Apollo, mourning the demise of Hyacinth, Would not cede vicotry to death. His sould, adept of transformation, Had to find a holy alchemy for beauty. So from his celestial hand he exhausts and crushes The subtlest gifts from divine Flora. Their borken bodies sigh a golden exhalation From which he harvest our first drop of - Absinthe! In crouching cellars, in sparkling palaces, Alone or together, drink that potion of loving! For it is a sorcery, a conjuration, This pale opal wine aborts misery. Opens the intimate sanctuary of beauty - Bewitches my heart, exalts my soul in ectasyAleister Crowley (1875-1947) was a bon-vivant of the highest degree. His experimentations with the occult, sexual peccadilloes, and general scandalous behavior made the gossip pages of the time with some regularity. He was so (in)famous, he was given the moniker of "the wickedest man in the world", while Somerset Maugham described him as "a fake, but not entirely a fake". So of course, he was an absintheur as well!
Sonnet de l'Absinthe
by Raoul Ponchon
Absinthe, O my lively liquor, (later "Absinthe, I adore you, truly!")
It seems, when I drink you
I inhale the young forest's soul
During the beautiful green season.
Your perfume disconcerts me
And in your opalescence
I see the full heavens of yore,
As through an open gate.
What matter, O refuge of the damned,
That you a vain paradise be,
If you appease my need;
And if, before I enter the gate,
You make me put up with life,
By accustoming me to death.
Charles Cros (October 1 1842 - August 9, 1888) was a French poet and inventor who came close to inventing the phonograph. But for us, he is more well known as an important part of the Paris Bohemian revolution. He was an absinthe drinker and friend of the famous imbiber Paul Verlaine (who almost killed him by pouring sulfuric acid in his drink!). Like many of his contemporaries, he lived fast, drank plenty and died young.
With Flowers, and with Women,
With Absinthe, and with this Fire,
We can divert ourselves a while,
Act out our part in some drama.
Absinthe, on a winter evening,
Lights up in green the sooty soul;
And Flowers, on the beloved,
Grow fragrant before the clear Fire.
Later, kisses lose their charm
Having lasted several seasons;
And after mutual betrayals
We part one day without a tear.
We burn letters and bouquets.
And fire takes our bower;
And if sad life is salvaged
Still there is Absinthe and its hiccups..
The portraits are eaten by flames..
Shrivelled fingers tremble..
We die from sleeping long
With Flowers, and with Women.
Ernest Dowson was one of the more famouse (or would that be infamous?) writers of the Decadent Movement, along with other fellow absinthe drinkers like Oscar Wilde, Arthur Rimbaud, and Paul Verlaine, all of whom would live fast, die young and leave a good corpse. He didn't actually produce much poetry in his short life, but this particular prose poem is a nice hymn to absinthe:
Green changed to white, emerald to opal; nothing was changed. The man let the water trickle gently into his glass, and as the green clouded, a mist fell from his mind. Then he drank opaline. Memories and terrors beset him. The past tore after him like a panther and through the blackness of the present he saw the luminous tiger eyes of the things to be. But he drank opaline. And that obscure night of the soul, and the valley of humiliation, through which he stumbled, were forgotten. He saw blue vistas of undiscovered countries, high prospects and a quiet, caressing sea. The past shed its perfume over him, to-day held his hand as if it were a little child, and tomorrow shone like a white star: nothing was changed. He drank opaline. The man had known the obscure night of the soul, and lay even now in the valley of humiliation; and the tiger menace of the things to be was red in the skies. But for a little while he had forgotten. Green changed to white, emerald to opal; nothing was changed.