Arthur Rimbaud| Poems 1871/72

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David Wojnarowicz | Arthur Rimbaud in New York 1978/79

 

STOLEN HEART

My sad heart drools on deck,
A heart splattered with chaw:
A target for bowls of soup,
My sad heart drools on deck:
Soldiers jeer and guffaw.
My sad heart drools on deck,
A heart splattered with chaw!

Ithyphallic and soldierly,
Their jeers have soiled me!
Painted on the tiller
Ithyphallic and soldierly.
Abracadabric seas,
Cleanse my heart of this disease.
Ithyphallic and soldierly,
Their jeers have soiled me!

When they’ve shot their wads,
How will my stolen heart react?
Bacchic fits and bacchic starts
When they’ve shot their wads:
I’ll retch to see my heart
Trampled by these clods.
What will my stolen heart do
When they’ve shot their wads?

May 1871

 

THE BATTLE SONG OF PARIS

Spring is here, plain as day,
Thiers and Picard steal away
From what they stole: green Estates
With vernal splendors on display.

May: a jubilee of nudity, asses on parade.
Sèvres, Meudon, Bagneux, Asnières—
New arrivals make their way,
Sowing springtime everywhere.

They’ve got shakos, sabers, and tom-toms,
Not those useless old smoldering stakes,
And skiffs “That nev-nev-never did cut …”
Through the reddening waters of lakes.

Now more than ever we’ll band together
When golden gems blow out our knees.
Watch as they burst on our crumbling heaps:
You’ve never seen dawns like these.

Thiers and Picard think they’re artists
Painting Corots 1 with gasoline.
They pick flowers from public gardens,
Their tropes traipsing from seam to seam…

They’re intimates of the Big Man, and Favre,
From the flowerbeds where he’s sleeping,
Undams an aqeductal flow of tears: a pinch
Of pepper prompts adequate weeping…

The stones of the city are hot,
Despite all of your gasoline showers.
Doubtless an appropriate moment
To roust your kind from power…

And the Nouveau Riche lolling peacefully
Beneath the shade of ancient trees,
Will hear boughs break overhead:
Red rustlings that won’t be leaves!

This poem, “Chante de guerre parisien,” refers semiparodically to the “Chante de guerre circassian” of François Coppée (1842–1908), who was later a regular object of parody for Rimbaud in the Album Zutique . In a letter to his friend Paul Demeny, Rimbaud introduced the poem as “a psalm on current events.” While Coppée’s poem concerns the Turks, Rimbaud’s antagonists are the leaders of France’s Third Republic who took did cut …”: an allusion to a French song of the era, “Il était un petit navire” (“A Little Boat”), that tells of a shipwrecked crew in dire straits.
1 Corots: Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (1796–1875), French painter noted for his landscapes. Favre: Jules Favre (1809–80), foreign minister famous for negotiating the French surrender to Prussia while, supposedly, in tears.

 

MY LITTLE LOVES

A teary tincture slops
Over cabbage-green skies:
Beneath saplings’ dewy drops,
Your white raincoats rise

With strange moons
And ripe spheres,
Knock your knees together,
My ugly little dears.

How we loved each other once:
Eating chickweed
And soft-boiled eggs,
My ugly, blue-eyed dear…

One night you hailed me poet:
You hopped on my lap
For a spanking,
My ugly, blonde dear…

Your brilliantine made me puke:
Your heavy brow
Could break a guitar,
My ugly, dark-haired dear…

My dry jets of sputum,
Fester between
Your round breasts,
My ugly, red-headed dear…

My little loves:
I hate you.
I hope your ugly tits blossom
With painful sores.

You trample my stores
Of feeling;
And then, voilà: you dance
For me once more.

Your shoulders dislocate,
My loves.
Stars brand your hobbled hips
While you do your worst.

And yet, for these sides of beef,
I made the lines above:
Hips I should have broken,
I filled with acts of love.

Guileless clumps of fallen stars
Accumulate below;
Saddled with trifling concerns
You’ll die with God, alone.

Beneath strange moons
And ripe spheres,
Knock your knees together
My ugly little dears!

A.R .
15 May 1871

 

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David Wojnarowicz | Arthur Rimbaud in New York 1978/79

 

SQUATTING

Later, when he feels his stomach grumble,
Brother Milotus—an eye on the skylight
Where, bright as a scoured pot, the sun
Shoots him a migraine and briefly blinds him—
Shifts his priestly belly beneath the sheets.

He thrashes around under the covers
And sits up, knees against his trembling belly,
Upset like an old man who’s swallowed his snuff,
Because he still must hike his nightshirt up
Over his hips, one hand on the handle of the chamberpot.

Now, squatted, shaking, toes curled, shivering
In the bright sunlight that plasters
Brioche-yellow patches on paper windowpanes;
And the fellow’s shiny nose ignites
With light, like a fleshy polyp.

· · · · · · · ·

He simmers by the fire, his arms in a knot, his lip hanging
Down to his belly: he feels his thighs slipping towards the fire,
Chausses glow, pipe goes cold;
Something like a bird softly stirs in his belly,
Serene as a heap of tripe!

Around him, a jumble of beaten furniture sleeps
With filthy rags and dirty bellies;
Stools like toads sit hunched
In corners: sideboards with mouths like cantors
Gape in carnivorous sleep.

Sickening heat floods the narrow room;
The fellow’s head is stuffed with rags.
He listens to the hairs growing on his moist skin,
And, at times, ridiculous hiccups
Escape, shaking his wobbly perch…

And at night, in moonlight drooling
Beams onto the curves of his ass,
A shadow squats, etched onto a backdrop
Of rosy snow, like hollyhock…
Surreal: a nose seeking Venus in the deep dark sky.

May 1871

 

PARISIAN ORGY OR THE REPOPULATION OF PARIS

Cowards, behold! Spill from the stations!
The sun’s hot breath blew streets dry
That teemed with Barbarians¹ only nights before.
Behold the Holy City, the Western throne!

Come! We’ll snuff smoldering fires!
See the quays, the boulevards,
Houses in relief against radiating blue
That nights before was starred red with bombs!

Board up the dead palaces!
Bask in the terror of dying daylight.
Behold these droves of redheads shaking their asses:
Be as crazy as you like: go wild!

Bitches in heat eat poultices in packs,
Who can resist golden houses’ calls: so rob!
Eat! Behold the joyous night descends in spasms,
Deep into the street. O desolate drinkers,

Drink! When blinding light shines
Streams of luxury across your sides,
Will you drool into your glasses,
Immobile and mute, eyes lost in the distance?

Knock one back for the Queen and her fat ass!
Listen to belches tear through flesh!
Listen to idiots and old codgers, groaning
Puppets and lackeys leaping into the burning night.

O filthy hearts and wretched mouths,
Belting shouts from reeking mouths!
Wine for everyone! We drink to this empty sloth…
O conquerors, your bellies dissolve with shame!

Open your nostrils to this incomparable nausea!
Drown your gullets in potent poison!
Laying his crossed hands onto your necks
The Poet says: “Cowards, show me your fury!”

Because you grope around in Woman’s guts,
You fear another shrieking contraction
That would smother the nest you’ve made
In her breast beneath an unbearableweight.

Syphilitics, madmen, kings, puppets, ventriloquists,
Why would Paris—that old whore—care
About your bodies and souls, your poisons and rags?
She’s well rid of you, you rabble.

And when you’re doubled over, gripping your guts,
Sides numb, demanding money, bewildered,
The red whore, breasts fat from battle,
Will shake raised fists far from your pain!

O Paris! When your feet danced with indignation!
When you were knifed how many times?
And when you fell, your clear eyes still retained
A vision of ruddy spring,

O sorrowful city! O half dead city,
Face and breasts thrust boldly towards the Future
Opening a million doors onto your pallor,
A city only the dark Past could bless:

Your body galvanized against suffering,
Again you drink from wretched life! Again you feel
The flux of worms writhing in your veins,
And icy fingers groping your grip on pure love!

But: that’s not so bad. Worms, pale worms
Can no more halt the breath of Progress
Than the Styx could put out eyes of Caryatids
Whose astral tears fell golden from the blue above.

While unbearable to see you overrun again;
While no city has been so befouled in all history—
A fetid ulcer on Nature’s greenery—
The poet nonetheless proclaims, “Your Beauty is magnificent!”

By storm, you have been consecrated Supreme Poetry.
The vast stirring of strength succors you;
O Chosen City! Your works boil, death moans!
Gather soundings in your deaf horn.

The poet will collect the tears of the Wrong,
The hate of Convicts, the clamor of the Damned;
And his rays of love will whip our Women.
His stanzas will shout: Thieves, behold!

—Society is restored: Orgies weep
Their ancient sob in ancient whoreries:
Gaslights blaze deliriously on reddened walls,
Sinister flares against a paling blue!

May 1871

1 Barbarians: The barbarians of whom Rimbaud writes are not the Goths sacking Rome, but the Germans of the Franco-German War, who paraded through Paris on March 1, 1871. The Tuileries, as well as part of the Louvre, which Rimbaud alludes to in the third stanza, the “dead palaces,” were destroyed a few months later.

 

THE POOR AT CHURCH

Parked on oak benches in church corners
Warmed by stale breath, eyes fixed
On the chancel’s glittering gold, the choir’s
Twenty mouths mumble pious hymns;

Inhaling the scent of melting wax like the aroma
Of baking bread, the Happy Poor
Humiliated like beaten dogs, make stubborn prayers
To the good Lord, their patron and master.

After six dark days of suffering in God’s name,
The women don’t mind wearing the benchwood smooth.
In dark cloaks they cradle ugly children
Who cry as if on the brink of death.

Dirty dogs dangle from these soup eaters,
Prayer in their eyes but without a prayer
They watch as a group of girls parades by W
earing ugly hats.

Outside: cold; hunger; carousing men.
But for now all’s well. One more hour; then,
Unmentionable evils! —For now, wattled old women
Surround them groaning, whining, whispering:

Idiots abound, and epileptics
You’d avoid in the street; blind men
Led by dogs through the squares
Nose through crumbling missals.

And all of them, drooling a dumb beggar’s faith,
Recite an endless litany to a yellow Jesus
Who dreams on high amidst stained glass,
Far from gaunt troublemakers and miserable gluttons,

Far from scents of flesh and moldy fabric,
This dark defeated farce of foul gestures;
—And prayer blossoms with choice expressions,
And mysticisms take on hurried tones,

Then, from the darkened naves where sunlight dies,
Women from better neighborhoods emerge,
All dim silk, green smiles, and bad livers—O Jesus!
— Dipping their long yellow fingers in the stoups.

June 1871

 

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David Wojnarowicz | Arthur Rimbaud in New York 1978/79

 

SISTERS OF CHARITY

The young man with shining eyes and brown skin,
A beautiful, twenty-year-old body best seen bare
That some nameless Persian Genius in a copper crown
Would have worshipped beneath the moon,

Impetuous, but with sweetness, virginal
But dark, proud of his first contumacies
Like young seas, tears on summer nights
Which turn to diamonds in your bed;

In the face of the world’s ugliness,
The young man’s angry heart flutters,
And burdened with a wound that never heals,
Begins to desire his Sister of Charity.

O sweet merciful Woman—but a heap of entrails—
You are never a sister of charity, never, neither
Your dark stare, nor your belly where a red shadow sleeps,
Not your little fingers, nor your perfect breasts.

An unwaking sightless thing with giant pupils:
Our every embrace shapes a question:
You and your breasts lean over us;
We nurse you, your sweet and solemn Passion.

You give it all back: your ancient sins
And sufferings, your hates and easy apathy;
You give it all back at night, without malice,
Like a monthly shedding of blood.

—When woman, briefly inspired, frightens him
With love—call of life, song of action—
The Green Muse and ardent Justice come
To draw and quarter him with venerable obsession.

Ceaselessly thirsting for splendor and peace,
Forsaken by two unappeasable sisters, whimpering
Tenderly for the knowledge of someone’s loving arms,
He arrives with a bloody brow before blossoming Nature.

But black alchemy and sacred studies
Repulse this wounded soul; pride’s dark scholar,
He feels an unbearable solitude bearing down.
No less beautifully, and with no fear of the grave,

Let him believe in open endings, Dreams
Or endless Promenades through nights of Truth,
And may he call you to his soul and sickly limbs,
O Sister of charity, O mystery, O Death!

June 1871

 

FIRST COMMUNION

I

Be honest, these village churches are a joke:
You get fifteen little brats with filthy fingers
Listening to divine esophageal twaddle
Spouted by a black gargoyle with rotting shoes:
But between the leaves, the sun awakens
The old colors of the crude stained glass.

The stones still smell of maternal earth.
You see heaps of these earthy stones
Strewn through a landscape that trembles
Solemnly beneath the burden of wheat,
Bearing burned trees where blackthorns blossom blue,
Knots of black mulberry and rue.

Every hundred years, they slap another coat of
Watery blue or milky white distemper on their barns:
If any creepy relics lurk within
Near Our Lady or our stuffed Saint,
Flies smelling of inns and stables gorge
On wax from the sunny floors.

Children’s duty is to house and home, simple
Family life, hard work; they depart, forgetting
How their skin crawled at the firm fingers
Of the Priestly touch, for which the Priest
Is reimbursed with a shady porch from which
To shoo them to labor in the noonday sun.

The first long pants, the best baked treats, beneath
A framed Napoleon or Little Drummer Boy, or
An engraving where Josephs and Marthas stick out
Their tongues with a love that seems excessive and which
Later will be joined by two maps from science class.
Only these sweet memories will remain of the big Day.

The girls always go to church, glad
To hear the boys call them sluts, standing
On ceremony after mass or sung vespers.
Boys destined for life in the garrisons
Who’ll sit in cafés and jeer at the better born,
Wearing new shirts, shouting scandalous songs.

Meanwhile, the Priest picks pictures
For the young; in his garden, after vespers, when
The air fills with the distant drone of dances
And he feels, despite his celestial taboo,
A toe begin to stir, then tap time.

—Night falls, black pirate disembarking from a golden sky.

II

The Priest, from among the catechumen, chooses
An unknown little girl with sad eyes and sallow skin
From a congregation drawn from the best and worst
Of neighborhoods. Her parents are humble porters.
“On the great Day, God will blizzard blessings
On this brow before all other catechumen.”

III

On the eve of the great Day, the child’s anxiousness
Makes her ill. Better at home than in the lofty church
With its doleful murmurs: first, shivers set in—bed
Exciting after all—a superhuman shiver which prompts: “I’m dying …”

And as if stealing love from her idiotic sisters,
She counts, exhausted, hands over her heart,
Angels, Jesuses, glittering Virgins, and
Her soul calmly drinks her conqueror whole.

Adonai…! —Latin phrases fallen from
Shimmering green skies bathe vermilion Brows,
While great snowy sheets tumble across suns
Stained with heavenly breast’s pure blood.

—In pursuit of present and future virginity
She bites into your cool Absolution,
So unlike water lilies, so unlike sweets:
Your Pardons chill like ice, o queen of Zion!

IV

And now the Virgin is nothing more than the virgin
In the book; occasionally, mystic spirits shatter.…
o follows the impoverishment of images forged
By boredom, awful engravings and old woodcuts;

Vaguely indecent curiosity
Rocks her chaste blue dream
With thoughts of celestial raiment
In which Jesus hides his nakedness.

Soul in distress, mute cries burying
Her brow into the pillow, she wants:
To prolong these supreme bursts of tenderness,
But drools…—Shadow fills houses and squares.

And the child cannot go on. She stirs, cants
Her hips, and opens the blue curtain with a hand
To let cool air under the covers,
Over her belly and her burning breast…

V

When she awoke at midnight, the window was white.
Before the blue slumber of lunated curtains
The vision filled her with thoughts of Sunday chastity;
She had dreamt red. Her nose bled,

And, feeling fully chaste and awash in weakness,
Savoring the return of her love of God,
She thirsted for night, where hearts leap
And fall beneath the sky’s benevolent eye;

For night is that impalpable Virgin Mother, which bathes
All early emotion in gray silence; she thirsted
For night’s strength in which, unwitnessed,
The bleeding heart spills its voiceless revolt.

Playing the victim and the little wife, her star
Saw her coming through the courtyard where
Her jacket hung drying like a white ghost, while
The candle in her hands raised black ghosts from rooftops.

VI

She spent her holy night on the toilet. White air
Streamed around her candle through holes
In the outhouse roof along with a purple-black vine
Invading through a breach in a crumbling wall outside.

The little window was a heart of live light
In the courtyard where low skies plastered windowpanes
With vermilion and gold; flagstones stank of detergent,
And endured shadows from walls welling with black sleep.

VII

Who—O filthy madmen—will tell of such languors
And fouled mercies, and what will she know of hate
When leprosy finally devours her benevolent body,
Whose holy work still distorts the world?

VIII

And when she’s eased her knots of hysteria
She sees, beneath the sorrow of joy, her lover
Dreaming sadly of a thousand white Marys,
This very morning after their first night of love;

“Do you know I killed you? I took your mouth,
Your heart, everything, everything you have;
And I, I’m sick: Oh lay me down
Among the Dead in the sodden waters of night!

“I was young when Christ fouled my lips
By filling me with disgust!
You kissed my hair, thick as fleece,
And I let you … You’ve got no complaints,

“You men! So unaware that the most smitten of us
Feels, beneath her inner certainty of doom,
Like a whore, horribly sad and certain
That all our lurches your way are missteps!

“For my first Communion is done with
And I’ll never know your kisses:
And my heart and my flesh held by your flesh
Crawl with the touch of Jesus’ putrid lips!”

IX

So such souls, rotten and wronged,
Will feel your rain of curses.
—Having slept upon your Hate inviolate,
They chose death than be denied true passion.

Christ! O Christ, eternal thief of wills,
You God who, for two thousand years devoted
To Your pallor, has nailed the faces of women
To the earth, in shame, in migraine, in agony.

July 1871

 

THE DRUNKEN BOAT

While swept downstream on indifferent Rivers,
I felt the boatmen’s tow-ropes slacken:
Yawping Redskins took them as targets
Nailing them naked to totem poles.

I never gave much thought to my crews,
To holds of Flemish wheat or English cotton.
So when cries of boatmen and Redskins receded
The Rivers left me to chart my course.

Deafer than a dreaming child, I ran
Into winter’s furious rippling tides.
Peninsulas wrenched from shore
Have never known such hurly-burly.

The tempest christened my maritime musings.
For ten nights I danced like a cork on waves
Whose victims call dread eternal breakers.
And I didn’t miss the banished bowlights blinking.

Sweeter than sour apples are to infants
Were the green waters my pine hull drank,
As rudder and anchor were washed away:
I was cleansed, Rinsed of stains, of vomit and blue wine.

Thereafter I bathed in the Poem of the Sea,
Milky with reflected stars, devouring blue and green;
A drowned sailor sometimes floated by
Like some pale apotheosis, or flotsam lost in thought.

Love’s bitter mystery suddenly blossoms
Beneath the blue, a slow delirium of rhythms,
A redness infecting the burgeoning day,
Stronger than spirits, louder than lyres!

I know skies split by lightning, waterspouts
And undertows, and tides: I know the night,
And dawn exulting like a crowd of doves.
I have even seen what man dreams he has.

I have seen the low sun stained with mystic horror,
Lit with long violet weals like actors
In some ancient play, waves unrolling
Their shuddering paddles into the distance.

I have dreamt green nights ablaze with snow,
Kisses climbing the eyes of the sea,
Unimaginable humors circulating freely,
Blue and yellow heavings of phosphorescent song!

I followed the swell for months on end,
Watched it storm reefs like hysterical herds,
Unaware that Marys’ luminous feet
Could muzzle panting Seas.

You know I’ve stormed unimaginable Floridas,
Her flowers scattered with panthers’ eyes
And human skin! Rainbows hung beneath horizons
Like bridles on blue-green broods.

I’ve seen Leviathan rotting whole
In reedy clots of putrid swamp; seen
Dead calm shattered by watery collapse;
Distant views caving beneath misty cataracts.

Silver suns, pearly waves, Glaciers and embered skies!
Shipwrecks at the borders of brown gulfs
Where giant serpents smelling of the dark
Tumble from twisted trees, a feast for bugs.

I would have liked to show daurades of the deep
Blue sea to children; shared these golden, singing fish.
—A foam of flowers was the only harbor I required
And indescribable winds have lent me wings.

At times, the sea’s sobs tossed me gently,
Her dark, yellow petals brushed against me;
I was like a woman on her knees,
A martyr weary of poles and zones.

Like an island, my rails drew pale eyes,
Quarrels and droppings of gossiping birds,
And I drifted on, until drowned men bobbing
Through my flimsy lines sank down into sleep…

And I, a boat lost in inlets’ tangled hair,
Tossed by hurricanes into birdless air, I
Whose water-drunken carcass Coast-Guard
And Hanseatic ships could not have dredged;

Free, on fire, crowned by violet mist,
I dug a hole in a reddening sky like a wall
Smeared with solar lichen and gobs
Of azure snot, irresistible poetic treats.

Scarred with electric crescent moons,
A lunatic plank escorted by black seahorses—
I fled, as July’s hammering heat
Beat ultramarine skies into smoldering pits;

I, who trembled at groans fifty leagues away
Of Behemoth rutting and Maelstroms raging,
I, eternal weaver of immovable blues,
Finally missed Europe’s ancient parapets!

I saw archipelagoes of stars, and islands
Whose delirious skies parted for the voyager:
O mounting vigor, o million golden birds exiled
In these bottomless nights: do you sleep?

Enough tears! Dawns break hearts.
Every moon is wrong, every sun bitter:
Love’s bitter bite has left me swollen, drunk with heat.
Let my hull burst! Let me sink into the sea!

If I still long for Europe’s waters, it’s only for
One cold black puddle where a child crouches
Sadly at its brink and releases a boat,
Fragile as a May butterfly, into the fragrant dusk.

Bathed in your weary waves, I can no longer ride
In the wake of cargo ships of cotton,
Nor cross the pride of flags and flames,
Nor swim beneath the killing stare of prison ships.

Summer, 1871

 

image
David Wojnarowicz | Arthur Rimbaud in New York 1978/79

 

JEANNE-MARIE’S HANDS

Jeanne-Marie has strong hands
Dark hands tanned by summer,
Pale hands like dead hands.
—Do they belong to Juana?

Did they turn creamy brown
On swollen seas?
Did they dip in placid ponds
On distant moons?

Did they drink from savage skies,
Folded charmingly on knees?
Did they roll cigars
Or traffic diamonds?

Did they toss golden flowers
At Madonnas’ ardent feet?
The black blood of belladonnas
Rests and blazes in their palms.

Hands hunting flies
Buzzing dawn’s bluings
Nearing nectaries?
Hands decanting poisons?

Oh what Dream
Has gripped them?
A dream of Asia,
Of Khenghavars or Zions?

—These hands never sold an orange,
Nor turned brown at the feet of gods:
Nor washed the swaddling clothes
Of chubby, eyeless children.

These aren’t a cousin’s hands
Nor of workers whose heavy foreheads
Burn in some toxic forest factory
Where the sun drowns in tar.

These are shapers of spines,
Hands that do no harm,
More deadly than machines,
Stronger than a horse.

Restless as furnaces,
And shedding their shudders,
Their flesh sings Marseillaises
But never Eleisons!

They would wring the necks
Of evil women; pulverize the hands
Of noble women, vile hands
Mottled carmine and white.

The radiance of these loving hands
Turns the heads of lambs!
The sun sets rubies
Onto such delectable fingers!

A popular stain blots them brown
Like an ancient breast;
Upon the back of these Hands
Every rebel plants a kiss!

They have faded beautifully,
Under a love-laden sun.
On the bronze of machine guns
Throughout revolutionary Paris.

Sometimes, around your wrists
Cries a chain of shimmering links,
Hands where our trembling lips
Linger drunkenly, tirelessly.

And then sometimes a strange upheaval
Finds its way within us, and we wish
Your Angelic Hands were made paler still
By making your fingers bleed.

February 1872

 

“BLANKETS OF BLOOD …”

Blankets of blood, coalfires, a thousand murders,
Endless howls of rage, and all harmony undone
By every hellish tear: would any of this matter,
O heart of mine, while the Aquilon still stirs debris …?

But vengeance? Never! And yet we crave it.
Industrialists, princes, senators: die!
Power, justice, history: kneel! We’re due.
We want blood. Blood, and golden flames.

My soul wants war; vengeance; terror! To war!
We writhe in its Bite: Enough republics!
We’ve had enough: of emperors,
Regiments, colonists, peoples—enough!

Who will stir the fiery whirlwinds’ fury
If not ourselves and those we call our brothers?
It’s our turn! Romantic friends: our fun begins.
O waves of fire, we’ll never work again!

Europe, Asia, America—vanish. Our march
Of vengeance spreads across cities and over hills!
—And yet, we will be crushed!
Volcanoes will explode, oceans boil…

Oh my friends! —My heart knows its own brothers!
Dark strangers, what if we were to leave? So leave! Leave!
O misfortune! How the earth melts upon us,
How I shake as it melts on me and you,

But no matter: I’m here; I’m still here.

 

VOWELS

Black A, White E, Red I, Green U, Blue O: vowels.
Someday I’ll explain your burgeoning births:
A, a corset; black and hairy, buzzing with flies
Bumbling like bees around a merciless stench,

And shadowy gulfs; E, white vapors and tents, proud
Glacial peaks, white kings, shivering Queen Anne’s lace;
I, purples, bloody spittle, lips’ lovely laughter
In anger or drunken contrition;

U, cycles, divine vibrations of viridian seas;
Peace of pastures sown with beasts, wrinkles
Stamped on studious brows as if by alchemy;

O, that last Trumpet, overflowing with strange discord,
Silences bridged by Worlds and Angels:
—O the Omega, the violet beam from His Eyes!

 

“O SEASONS, O CHÂTEAUX”  

O seasons, o châteaux
Who possesses a perfect soul?

O seasons, o châteaux!

I made a magical study
Of inescapable Bliss.

All hail Bliss, throughout Gaul
When you hear the rooster’s call.

Bliss has finally set me free
From desire’s tyranny.
Its spell took soul and shape,
Letting every goal escape.

What do my words mean?
Meaning flees, takes wing!

o seasons, o châteaux

 

From 
Arthur Rimbaud | Volume I: Poetry and Prose
Translated, Edited, and with an Introduction
By Wyatt Mason
2003 Modern Library Paperback Edition

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