Arthur Rimbaud | Vowels

Jannis Kounellis | Senza titolo (Apollo) [Untitled (Apollo)], 1973





A noir, E blanc, I rouge, U vert, O bleu: voyelles,
Je dirai quelque jour vos naissances latentes:
A, noir corset velu des mouches éclatantes
Qui bombinent autour des puanteurs cruelles,

Golfes d’ombre; E, candeurs des vapeurs et des tentes,
Lances des glaciers fiers, rois blancs, frissons d’ombelles;
I, pourpres, sang craché, rire des lèvres belles
Dans la colère ou les ivresses pénitentes;

U, cycles, vibrements divins des mers virides,
Paix des pâtis semés d’animaux, paix des rides
Que l’alchimie imprime aux grands fronts studieux;

O, suprême Clairon plein des strideurs étranges,
Silences traversés des Mondes et des Anges:
—O l’Oméga, rayon violet de Ses Yeux!





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!






A black, E white, I red, U green, O blue: vowels,
some day I will betray your burgeoning naissance;
A, a hairy corset of black glittering flies
gamboling around the void of a punishing stench,
gulfs of shadows; E, white of steam clouds, bivouacked tents,
the pikes of proud glaciers, pale kings, or Queen Anne’s lace;
I, purples, blood from split lips, laughing with vengeance
or saturnine remorse, rouging a doll-like face;
U, circuits, changing tides on divine, green-flecked seas,
peace of dull animals on fertile pastures, peace
of a pensive, curled brow engrossed by Alchemy;
O, final trumpet, strange with solar key changes,
silences only spanned by Worlds and by Angels,
—O—the Omega—the violet beam from His Eyes!






A Black, E white, I red, U green, O blue : vowels,
I shall tell, one day, of your mysterious origins:
A, black velvety jacket of brilliant flies
Which buzz around cruel smells,

Gulfs of shadow; E, whiteness of vapours and of tents,
Lances of proud glaciers, white kings, shivers of cow-parsley;
I, purples, spat blood, smile of beautiful lips
In anger or in the raptures of penitence;

U, waves, divine shudderings of viridian seas,
The peace of pastures dotted with animals, the peace of the furrows
Which alchemy prints on broad studious foreheads;

O, sublime Trumpet full of strange piercing sounds,
Silences crossed by Worlds and by Angels:
O the Omega, the violet ray of Her Eyes!

Translation by Oliver Bernard





A black, E white, I red, U green, O blue: the vowels.
I will tell thee, one day, of thy newborn portents:
A, the black velvet cuirass of flies whose essence
commingles, abuzz, around the cruellest of smells,

Wells of shadow; E, the whitewash of mists and tents,
glaives of icebergs, albino kings, frostbit fennels;
I, the bruises, the blood spat from lips of damsels
who must laugh in scorn or shame, both intoxicants;

U, the waves, divine vibratos of verdant seas,
pleasant meadows rich with venery, grins of ease
which alchemy grants the visages of the wise;

O, the supreme Trumpeter of our strange sonnet—
quietudes crossed by another [World and Spirit],
O, the Omega!—the violet raygun of [Her] Eyes….


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