Arthur Rimbaud


I have kissed the summer dawn. Before the palaces, nothing moved. The water lay dead. Battalions of shadows still kept the forest road.

I walked, walking warm and vital breath, While stones watched, and wings rose soundlessly.

My first adventure, in a path already gleaming With a clear pale light, Was a flower who told me its name.

I laughted at the blond Wasserfall That threw its hair across the pines: On the silvered summit, I came upon the goddess.

Then one by one, I lifted her veils. In the long walk, waving my arms.

Across the meadow, where I betrayed her to the cock. In the heart of town she fled among the steeples and domes, And I hunted her, scrambling like a beggar on marble wharves.

Above the road, near a thicket of laurel, I caught her in her gathered veils, And smelled the scent of her immense body. Dawn and the child fell together at the bottom of the wood.

When I awoke, it was noon.

  •       A Dream For Winter

In the winter, we will leave in a small pink railway carriage
With blue cushions. We will be comfortable.
A nest of mad kisses lies In each soft corner.
You will close your eyes, in order not to see, through the glass,
The evening shadows making faces.
Those snarling monstrosities, a populace
Of black demons and black wolves.
Then you will feel your cheek scratched...
A little kiss, like a mad spider, Will run around your neck...
And you will say to me: 'Get it!' as you bend your neck -
And we will take a long time to find that creature -
Which travels a great deal...

  • Anguish

Is it possible that She will have me forgiven for ambitions continually crushed,--
that an affluent end will make up for the ages of indigence,--
that a day of success will lull us to sleep on the shame of our fatal incompetence?
(O palms! diamond!-- Love! strength!-- higher than all joys and all fame!--
in any case, everywhere-- demon, god,-- Youth of this being: myself!)
That the accidents of scientific wonders and the movements of social brotherhood
will be cherished as the progressive restitution of our original freedom?...
But the Vampire who makes us behave orders us to enjoy ourselves
with what she leaves us, or in other words to be more amusing.
Rolled in our wounds through the wearing air and the sea;
in torments through the silence of the murderous waters and air;
in tortures that laugh in the terrible surge of their silence.

  •        After The Flood
As soon as the idea of the Deluge had subsided,
A hare stopped in the clover and swaying flowerbells,
and said a prayer to the rainbow,
through the spider's web.

Oh! the precious stones that began to hide,--
and the flowers that already looked around.
In the dirty main street, stalls were set up
and boats were hauled toward the sea,
high tiered as in old prints.

Blood flowed at Blue Beard's,--
through slaughterhouses, in circuses,
where the windows were blanched by God's seal.
Blood and milk flowed. Beavers built.

'Mazagrans' smoked in the little bars.
In the big glass house, still dripping,
children in mourning looked
at the marvelous pictures.

A door banged; and in the village square
the little boy waved his arms,
understood by weather vanes
and cocks on steeples everywhere,
in the bursting shower.

Madame *** installed a piano in the Alps.
Mass and first communions were celebrated
at the hundred thousand altars of the cathedral.
Caravans set out. And Hotel Splendid was built
in the chaos of ice and of the polar night.

Ever after the moon heard jackals howling
across the deserts of thyme,
and eclogues in wooden shoes growling in the orchard.
Then in the violet and budding forest,
Eucharis told me it was spring.

Gush, pond,-- Foam, roll on the bridge and over the woods;--
black palls and organs, lightening and thunder, rise and roll;--
waters and sorrows rise and launch the Floods again.
For since they have been dissipated--
oh! the precious stones being buried and the opened flowers!--
it's unbearable! and the Queen, the Witch who lights her fire
in the earthen pot will never tell us what she knows,
and what we do not know. 

Gracious son of Pan! Around your forehead
crowned with flowerets
and with laurel, restlessly roll
those precious balls, your eyes.

Spotted with brown lees, your cheeks are hollow.
Your fangs gleam. Your breast is like a lyre,
tinklings circulate through your pale arms.
Your heart beats in that belly where sleeps the double sex.
Walk through the night, gently moving that thigh,
that second thigh, and that left leg.

  •   Common Nocturne

A breath opens operatic breaches
in the walls,-- blurs the pivoting of crumbling roofs,--
disperses the boundaries
of hearths,-- eclipses the windows.

Along the vine, having rested my foot on a waterspout,
I climbed down into this coach,
its period indicated clearly enough
by the convex panes of glass,
the bulging panels, the contorted sofas.

Isolated hearse of my sleep,
shepherd's house of my insanity,
the vehicle veers on the grass
of the obliterated highway:
and in the defect at the top
of the right-hand windowpane
revolve pale lunar figures, leaves, and breasts. --

A very deep green and blue invade the picture.
Unhitching near a spot of gravel. --
Here will they whistle for the storm,
and the Sodoms and Solymas,
and the wild beasts and the armies,
(Postilion and animals of dream,
will they begin again in the stifling
forests to plunge me up to my eyes
in the silken spring?)
And, whipped through the splashing of waters
and spilled drinks, send us rolling
on the barking of bulldogs...
--A breath disperses
the boundaries of the hearth. 

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