Letters from the Pandemic 33: From Baudelaire

Letters from the Pandemic 33: Letter from Baudelaire
by Richard Fisher

Baudelaire, ennuyé


This letter came to me from my spirit guide, Charles Baudelaire, through the medium of automatic writing. Inconveniently, I was also writing a letter to my Aunt Maud in Sittingbourne, Kent, at the time, so the two letters may have leached into each other — Richard Fisher


Ma Chère Covid,

Je m’appelle Baudelaire, Charles Baudelaire. I am known more for my sang-froid than my joie de vivre so please forgive me if I address you directly from the depths of my ennui – de profundis clamavi.

Fisher, bored

I am on retreat at my mother’s house in the bourgeois coastal town of Honfleur (you’d love it, Aunt Maud!), where I have experienced more than my fair share of tedium. It is often assumed that, for a poet, an excess of solitude provides opportunities for rêveries and lonely wanderings. Pas vrai.

Yes, Aunt Maud, I did know Sittingbourne was mentioned in the Canterbury Tales. I think you may have mentioned that on multiple occasions. If it weren’t for my books I would have gone mad, inhaling wine and laudanum. Do not misunderstand me. I love a good pandemic, but you, Covid, are not one of those. Pandemics are about stench, suffering, and screams, not numbers and charts. Covid even takes away your sense of stench! La peste noire, now that’s what I call a pandemic. A third of Europe. Gone. And yet, even the grim spectacles of this earth are insufficient for my faded soul.

Covid, indifferent

Remember those madeleines we had at that teashop in Sittingbourne, Aunt Maud? Every time I eat one now, the memories come flooding back — all of them. Anyhoo, must go now. This pandemic isn’t washing any dishes. C’est la vie, or, as the French say, that’s life.

Je vous prie d’agréer l’assurance de ma considération distinguée, Aunt Maud.

Charles Baudelaire

PS Uncle Ted says he will drop off that rhubarb for your “jam session” next week. TTFN!


Richard Fisher, still waiting for jab

Since August, 2020, Richard Fisher has been studying for an MA in Liberal Studies at Simon Fraser University. He has 35 years of marketing and communications experience in London, New York, Toronto and Vancouver, in both the private and public sectors. He lives in West Vancouver.


The Ormsby Review. More Books. More Reviews. More Often.

Publisher and Editor: Richard Mackie

The Ormsby Review is a journal service for in-depth coverage of B.C. books and authors. The Advisory Board consists of Jean Barman, Wade Davis, Robin Fisher, Cole Harris, Hugh Johnston, Patricia Roy, David Stouck, Maria Tippett, and Graeme Wynn. Scholarly Patron: SFU Graduate Liberal Studies. Honorary Patron: Yosef Wosk. Provincial Government Patron since September 2018: Creative BC

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