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Rimbaud

38 posts in this topic

Posted

After recently purchasing a French-English bilingual copy of the complete prose and poetical works of Arthur Rimbaud, I have decided (partly through having all seven of my arms twisted by that nefarious oddball known only as :davidm: and, sometimes, as :davidm1: ) to post some of the poems (in English and French) into this thread, so that you lot get to enjoy them for free. Aren't I nice? :humble:

Les Étrennes Des Orphelins

I

La chambre est pleine d'ombre; on entend vaguement

De deux enfants le triste et doux chuchotement.

Leur front se penche, encore alourdi par le rêve,

Sous le long rideau blanc qui tremble et se soulève...

--Au dehors les oiseaux se repprochent frileux;

Leur aile s'engourdit sous le ton gris des cieux;

Et la nouvelle Année, à la suite brumeuse,

Laissant traîner kes okus de sa robe neigeuse,

Sourit avec des pleurs, et chante en grelottant...

II

Or les petits enfants, sous le rideau flottant,

Parlent bas comme on fait dans une nuit obscure.

Ils écoutent, pensifs, comme un lotain murmure...

Ils tressaillent souvent à la claire voix d'or

Du timbre matinal, qui frappe et frappe encor

Son refrain métallique en son globe de verre...

--Puis, la chambre est glacée... on voit traîner à terre,

Épars autour des lits des vêtements de deuil:

L'âpre bise d'hiver qui se lamente au seuil

Souffle dans le logis son haleine morose!

On sent, dans tout cela, qu'il manque quelque chose...

-- Il n'est donc point de mère à ces petits enfants,

De mère au frais sourire, aux regards triomphants?

Elle a donc oublié, le soir, seule et penchée,

D'exciter une flamme à la cendre arrachée,

D'amonceler sur eux la laine e l'édredon

Avant de les quitter en leur criant: pardon.

Elle n'a point prévu la froider matinale,

Ni bien fermé le seuil à la bise hivernale...

-- Le rêve maternal, c'est le tiède tapis,

C'est le nid cotonneux où les enfants tapis,

Comme de beaux oiseaux que balancent les branches,

Dorment leur doux sommeil plein de visions blanches!...

-- Et là, --c'est comme un nid sans plumes, sans chaleur,

Où les petits ont froid, ne dorment pas, ont peur;

Un nid que doit avoir glacé la bise amère...

III

Votre coeur l'a compris: -- ces efants sont sans mère.

Plus de mère au logis! -- et le père est bien loin!...

-- Une vieille servante, alors, en a pris soin.

Les petits sont tout seuls en la maison glacée;

Orphelins du quatre ans, voilà qu'en leur pensée

S'éveille, par degrés, un souvenir riant...

C'est comme un chapelet qu'on égrène en priant:

-- Ah! quel beau matin, que ce matin dest étrennes!

Chacun, pendant la nuit, avait rêvé des siennes

Dans quelque song étrange où l'on voyait joujoux,

Bonbons habillés d'or, étincelants bijoux,

tourbillonner, danser une danse sonore,

Puis fuir sous les rideaux, puis reparaître encore!

On s'évellait matin, on se levait joyeux,

La lèvre affriandée, en se frottant les yeux...

On allait, les cheveux emmêlés sur la tête,

Les yeux tout rayonnants, comme aux grands jours de fête,

Et les petits pieds nus effleurant le plancher,

Aux portes des parents tout doucement toucher...

On entrait!... Puis alors les souhaits... en chemise,

Les baisers répétés, et la gaîté permise!

IV

Ah! c'était si charmant, ces mots dits tant de fois!

--Mais comme il est changé, le logis d'autrefois:

Un grand feu pétillait, clair, dans la cheminée,

Toute la vieille chambre était illuminée;

Et les reflets vermeils, sortis du grand foyer,

Sur les meubles vernis aimaient à tournoyer...

-- L'armoire é sans clefs!... sans clefs, la grande armoire!

On regardait souvent sa porte brune et noire...

Sans clefs!... c'était étrange!... on rêvait bien des fois

Aux mystères dormant entre ses flancs de bois,

Et l'on croyait ouïr, au fond la serrure

Béante, un bruit lointain, vague et joyeux murmure...

--La chambre des parents est bien vide, aujourd'hui:

Aucun reflet vermeil sous la porte n'a lui;

Il n'est point de parents, de foyer, de clefs prises:

Partant, point de baiser, point de douces surprises!

Oh! que le jour de l'an sera triste pour eux!

-- Et, tour pensifs, tandis que de leurs grands yeux bleus

Silencieusement tombe une larme amère,

Ils murmurent <<Quand donc reviendra notre mère?>>

V

Maintenant, les petits sommeillent tristement:

Vous diriez, à les voir, qu'ils pleurent en dormant,

Tant leurs yeux sont gonflés et leur souffles pénible!

Les tout petits enfants ont le coeur si sensible!

-- Mais l'ange des berceaux vient essuyer leurs yeux,

Et dans ce lourd sommeil met un rêve joyeux,

Un rêve si joyeux, que leur lèvre mi-close,

Souriante, semblait murmurer quelque chose...

-- Ils rêvent que, penchés sur leur petit bras rond,

Doux geste du réveil, ils avancent le front,

Et leur vague regard tout autour d'eux se pose...

Ils se croient endormis dans un paradis rose...

Au foyer plein d'éclairs chante gaîment le feu...

Par la fenêtre on voit là-bas un beau ciel bleu;

La nature s'éveille et de rayons s'enivre...

La terre, demi-nue, heureuse de revivre,

A des frissons de joie aux baisers du soleil...

Et dans le vieux logis tout est tièdes et vermeil:

Les sombres vêtements ne jonchent plus la terre,

La bise sous le seuil a fini par se taire...

On dirait qu'une fée a passé dans cela!...

--Les enfants, tout joyeux, ont jeté deux cris... Là,

Près du lit maternal, sous un beau rayon rose,

Là, sur le grand tapis, resplendit quelque chose...

Ce sont des médaillons argentés, noirs et blancs,

De la nacre et du jais aux reflets scintillants;

Des petis cadre noirs, des couronnes de verres,

Avant trois mots gravés en or: <<À NOTRE MÈRE!>>

The Orphans' New Year's Gifts

I

The room is full of shadow; you vaguely hear

Two children whispering, sadly, softly.

Heavy with sleep, their heads are bowed

Beneath the long white curtain that trembles and rises...

-- Outside, birds huddle against the cold;

Wings benumbed beneath the sky's grey shade;

And the New Year, trailing mist,

Drags the folds of her snowy train behind her,

Smiling through tears, shivering as she sings...

II

But beneath the fluttering curtain, the little ones

Speaks as one does in the dark of night, softly.

Lost in thought, they listen as if to a distant murmur...

How they tremble at the clear golden voice

Of the morning bell, its metallic refrain striking

The glass globe again and again...

-- Then... on the floor ... strewn around their beds

In this frozen room, you notice mourning clothes:

The bitter winter wind wailing at the threshold

Blows its grim breath into the house.

You sense something missing in all of this...

--Where is their mother? Where is her triumphant

Maternal stare, her warm absolving smile?

One night, alone, bent over them

She must have forgotten to kindle a fire

From a dying ember, must have forgotten

To tuck a blanket and quilt around them

Before leaving, while crying out: forgive me.

She couldn't have known how cold the next morning would be,

Nor how to keep the winter wind behind the door...

-- This maternal dreams is a warm blanket,

A cottony nest where children hide,

Like beautiful birds on swaying branches,

Sleeping a soft sleep brimming with white dreams...

-- And here, the nest is featherless and cold,

And the little ones are cold, restless, afraid;

A nest frozen solid by bitter winds.

III

Your heart has understood: these are motherless children.

No mother near! -- And father far away...

-- So an old servant cares for them.

The little ones are all alone in this frozen house;

Four-year-old orphans who slowly

Awaken to a happy memory...

Like a rosary, a prayer made bead by bead:

Oh what a beautiful morning! New Year's Morning!

During the night, each dreamt of his heart's loves,

Strange dreams of dancing toys

Gowned in gold, glittering jewels

Dancing a musical dance, disappearing

Under curtains and appearing again!

The next morning, they rose happily,

Mouths watering, rubbing their eyes...

With tousled hair and sparkling eyes

They made their way, brimming with holiday joy,

Little bare feet skimming across the floor,

Until softly tapping at their parents' door...

And in they went with nightshirted welcomes...

Endless kisses and every joy.

IV

Such a charming story, repeated how many times?

-- How the old house has changed since then.

A great fire crackled brightly in the hearth,

Illuminating the old bedroom;

Vermilion reflections from the fireplace,

Dance over the furniture...

-- The armoire was unlocked! Unlocked!

They had to stare at its dark black door...

Unlocked...! How strange... they so often dreamt

Of mysteries that slept within its ribs,

Thinking they could hear distant sounds

Through the keyhole's gaping depths,

A joyous, barely audible murmur...

-- Now the parents' bedroom is empty:

No vermilion reflections beneath the door;

No parents, no hearth, no keys to steal:

And no kisses when they leave, no sweet surprises!

How sad their New Year's Day will be!

-- Lost in thought, while bitter tears fall...

Silently from big blue eyes, they murmur:

"When will mother return?"

V

Now the little ones are sleeping, sadly:

If you could see their puffy eyes and laboured breaths

You'd say they were crying in their sleep...

Little children have such fragile hearts!

-- But a guardian angel dries their eyes,

And slips a wonderful dream into heavy sleep,

A dream so wonderful that, smiling, their parted lips

Seem to murmur out loud...

-- Resting on their little round arms, they dream

Of lifting their heads with morning's sweet motions

Until sleepy glances finally alight

On what must be a paradise of roses...

Fire sings merrily from a glowing hearth...

And a boundless blue sky peeks through the window;

Nature awakens, drunk with daylight...

The earth, half-naked, happily reborn,

Shivers with joy under sunbeam kisses...

And in the old house, everything is vermilion, and warm:

Dark clothes no longer carpet floors,

And the wind at their doorstep has finally fallen silent

As if a fairy had come...! -- Perfectly happy,

The children cheer twice for joy... And there,

Near the maternal bed, beneath a beautiful rosy sunbeam,

There, on the great rug, something wonderful shines...

Silvery medals, one black, one white,

Both glittering, one jet, one mother-of-pearl;

Little black borders, little glass wreaths,

Each with three words, graven in gold:

"TO OUR MOTHER!"

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Posted (edited)

Thanks, Dave, Rimbaud is the best. When he was young, like all artists, he thought that he could change the rotten world through his art. Unlike other artists, however, he failed to settle: to decide that while changing the world through art was impossible, what WAS possible, and sufficient, was to change the way that people, at least some people, see the world. With Rimbaud it was all or nothing, though, and if, through his art, he was unable to bring "Christmas on earth" (a Season in Hell), then all that remained for him was to abandon poetry altogether and actually become a nefarious gun runner and slave trader. After the great abandonment he dismissed his youthful works (he gave up poetry at age 21) as "dishwater." An amazing story. Recommended work on Rimbaud: Time of the Assassins, by Henry Miller.

Edited by davidm

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Posted (edited)

SENSATION

Par les sois bleus d'été, j'irai dans les sentiers,

Picoté par les blés, fouler l'herbe menue:

Rêveur, j'en sentirai la fraîcheur à mes pieds.

Je laisserai le vent baigner ma tête nue.

Je ne parlerai pas, je ne penserai rien:

Mais l'amour infini me montera dans l'àme,

Et j'irai loin, bien loin, comme un bohémien,

Par la Nature, -- heureux comme avec une femme.

SENSATION

Through blue summers I will pass along paths,

Pricked by wheat, trampling short grass:

Dreaming, I will feel coolness underfoot,

Will let breezes bathe my bare head.

Not a word, not a thought:

Boundless love will surge through my soul,

And I will wonder far away, a vagabond

In Nature -- as happily as with a woman.

Edited by DaveT
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Posted (edited)

The above two are early poems from Rimbaud, written when he was around sixteen. Yet thematically they are of a piece with his later work. One of the themes of his work is the innocence and of childhood, the freedom, the lack of care, the feeling of “Christmas on earth,” yet also the potential of danger or corruption.

Pretty soon changes will come as other facets of Rimbaud's primsmatic character come out, like the facets of cynicism and socrn, not just for the world but for poetry itself, including his own poetry ("my shit.") He will soon write a poem about flowers, because flowery poetry about flowers was all the rage at that time in France, just like pretty pictures in the acadmeic style were the rage in the visual arts. But in Rimbaud's hands, flowers become "enema bags of ecstasy," as one translation has it.

Although the themes of childhood and corruption recur throughout his brief career as a poet, his methods and style and concerns will soon change, beginning with his great poem Drunken Boat, which launched him on his way to Paris to his fateful meeting with Verlaine. Drunken Boat may have been his single best poem. I’d like Dave to publish the English and French versions from his book; I’ve seen a number of different English translations of it which treat the imagery slightly differently, but in all cases the poem is kaleidoscopic with the density of its every changing, swirling, protean images, in which all the senses are constantly engaged and the poem races along with the sense that you are in fact riding a boat on a swift-flowing body of water that has slipped its moorings and is simply out of control. On one reading it is a metaphor for the launching of Rimbaud’s poetic career, careering down the rapidly rushing rivers of the imagination. But curiously in the end there is the suggestion that this drunken boat of the imagination is but a toy boat that a small child has launched upon a still pond, the theme of childhood innocence recurring. And here too another reading may well come into play: in this poem as in others, Rimbaud in the poem’s climax is already prefiguring the early end of his poetic mission, perhaps with the suggestion that poetry is ultimately futile, or that it is “too soon” for “Christmas on earth,” as he writes in A Season in Hell. This motif of imagination run riot followed by dissipation and resignation may also be found in his great poem Time of the Assassins, (also the name of a book-length study of Rimbaud by Henry Miller), a poem usually grouped with the Illuminations poems I believe. I’d like to see the translation of this poem from Dave’s book as well.

Edited by davidm

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[i[LE BATEAU IVRE

Comme je descendais des Fleuves impassibles,

Je ne me sentis plus guidé par les haleurs :

Des Peaux-Rouges criards les avaient pris pour cibles,

Les ayant cloués nus aux poteaux de couleurs.

J'étais insoucieux de tous les équipages,

Porteur de blés flamands ou de cotons anglais.

Quand avec mes haleurs ont fini ces tapages,

Les Fleuves m'ont laissé descendre où je voulais.

Dans les clapotements furieux des marées,

Moi, l'autre hiver, plus sourd que les cerveaux d'enfants,

Je courus ! Et les Péninsules démarrées

N'ont pas subi tohu-bohus plus triomphants.

La tempête a béni mes éveils maritimes.

Plus léger qu'un bouchon j'ai dansé sur les flots

Qu'on appelle rouleurs éternels de victimes,

Dix nuits, sans regretter l'oeil niais des falots !

Plus douce qu'aux enfants la chair des pommes sûres,

L'eau verte pénétra ma coque de sapin

Et des taches de vins bleus et des vomissures

Me lava, dispersant gouvernail et grappin.

Et dès lors, je me suis baigné dans le Poème

De la Mer, infusé d'astres, et lactescent,

Dévorant les azurs verts ; où, flottaison blême

Et ravie, un noyé pensif parfois descend ;

Où, teignant tout à coup les bleuités, délires

Et rhythmes lents sous les rutilements du jour,

Plus fortes que l'alcool, plus vastes que nos lyres,

Fermentent les rousseurs amères de l'amour !

Je sais les cieux crevant en éclairs, et les trombes

Et les ressacs et les courants : je sais le soir,

L'Aube exaltée ainsi qu'un peuple de colombes,

Et j'ai vu quelquefois ce que l'homme a cru voir !

J'ai vu le soleil bas, taché d'horreurs mystiques,

Illuminant de longs figements violets,

Pareils à des acteurs de drames très antiques

Les flots roulant au loin leurs frissons de volets !

J'ai rêvé la nuit verte aux neiges éblouies,

Baiser montant aux yeux des mers avec lenteurs,

La circulation des sèves inouïes,

Et l'éveil jaune et bleu des phosphores chanteurs !

J'ai suivi, des mois pleins, pareille aux vacheries

Hystériques, la houle à l'assaut des récifs,

Sans songer que les pieds lumineux des Maries

Pussent forcer le mufle aux Océans poussifs !

J'ai heurté, savez-vous, d'incroyables Florides

Mêlant aux fleurs des yeux de panthères à peaux

D'hommes ! Des arcs-en-ciel tendus comme des brides

Sous l'horizon des mers, à de glauques troupeaux !

J'ai vu fermenter les marais énormes, nasses

Où pourrit dans les joncs tout un Léviathan !

Des écroulements d'eaux au milieu des bonaces,

Et les lointains vers les gouffres cataractant !

Glaciers, soleils d'argent, flots nacreux, cieux de braises !

Échouages hideux au fond des golfes bruns

Où les serpents géants dévorés des punaises

Choient, des arbres tordus, avec de noirs parfums !

J'aurais voulu montrer aux enfants ces dorades

Du flot bleu, ces poissons d'or, ces poissons chantants.

- Des écumes de fleurs ont bercé mes dérades

Et d'ineffables vents m'ont ailé par instants.

Parfois, martyr lassé des pôles et des zones,

La mer dont le sanglot faisait mon roulis doux

Montait vers moi ses fleurs d'ombre aux ventouses jaunes

Et je restais, ainsi qu'une femme à genoux...

Presque île, ballottant sur mes bords les querelles

Et les fientes d'oiseaux clabaudeurs aux yeux blonds.

Et je voguais, lorsqu'à travers mes liens frêles

Des noyés descendaient dormir, à reculons !

Or moi, bateau perdu sous les cheveux des anses,

Jeté par l'ouragan dans l'éther sans oiseau,

Moi dont les Monitors et les voiliers des Hanses

N'auraient pas repêché la carcasse ivre d'eau ;

Libre, fumant, monté de brumes violettes,

Moi qui trouais le ciel rougeoyant comme un mur

Qui porte, confiture exquise aux bons poètes,

Des lichens de soleil et des morves d'azur ;

Qui courais, taché de lunules électriques,

Planche folle, escorté des hippocampes noirs,

Quand les juillets faisaient crouler à coups de triques

Les cieux ultramarins aux ardents entonnoirs ;

Moi qui tremblais, sentant geindre à cinquante lieues

Le rut des Béhémots et les Maelstroms épais,

Fileur éternel des immobilités bleues,

Je regrette l'Europe aux anciens parapets !

J'ai vu des archipels sidéraux ! et des îles

Dont les cieux délirants sont ouverts au vogueur :

- Est-ce en ces nuits sans fonds que tu dors et t'exiles,

Million d'oiseaux d'or, ô future Vigueur ?

Mais, vrai, j'ai trop pleuré ! Les Aubes sont navrantes.

Toute lune est atroce et tout soleil amer :

L'âcre amour m'a gonflé de torpeurs enivrantes.

Ô que ma quille éclate ! Ô que j'aille à la mer !

Si je désire une eau d'Europe, c'est la flache

Noire et froide où vers le crépuscule embaumé

Un enfant accroupi plein de tristesse, lâche

Un bateau frêle comme un papillon de mai.

Je ne puis plus, baigné de vos langueurs, ô lames,

Enlever leur sillage aux porteurs de cotons,

Ni traverser l'orgueil des drapeaux et des flammes,

Ni nager sous les yeux horribles des pontons.

THE DRUNKEN BOAT

While swept downstream on indifferent Rivers,

I felt the boatmen's tow-ropes slacken:

Yawping Redskins took them as targets

Sailing 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 plit 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 dream green nights ablaze with snow,

Kisses climbing the eyes of the sea,

Unimaginable humors circulating freely,

Blue and yellow heavings of the 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 clam 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 wave of cargo ships of cotton,

Nor cross the pride of flags and flames,

Nor swim beneath the killing stare of prison ships.

:cheers::glug:

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Posted

That is a great poem. That is Rimbaud.

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Posted

Dave, post the French and English versions of "The Time of the Assassins" poem. It may be under a slightly different title, "Assassins Hour," or some such.

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I can't find that one, but MATINÉE D'IVRESSE (Drunken Morning) ends with "Voici le temps des Assassins (This is the age of the Assassins)." Is that the one you want?

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l'IDOLE. SONNET DU TROU DU CUL

Obscur et froncé comme un œillet violet

Il respire, humblement tapi parmi la mousse

Humide encor d'amour qui suit la fuite douce

Des Fesses blanches jusqu'au an cœur de son ourlet.

Des filaments pareils à des larmes de lait

Ont pleuré, sous le vent cruel qui les repousse,

À travers de petits caillots de marne rousse

Pour s'aller predre où la pente les appelait.

Mon Rêve s'aboucha souvent à sa ventouse;

Mon âme, du coït matériel jalouse,

En fit son larmier fauve et son nid de sanglots.

C'est l'olive pâmée, et la flûte câline;

C'est le tube où descend la céleste praline:

Chanaan féminin dans les moiteurs enclos!

SONNET TO AN ASSHOLE

Dark and wrinkled like a violet carnation,

It breaths, humbly lurking among the moss

Still moist from love as it follows the sweet flight

Of white Buttocks towards the heart of its rim.

Filaments that were as milky tears were wept

Beneath a cruel wind as it drove them back,

Between tiny clots of ruddy marlstone

Losing themselves in the beckoning slope.

My Dream has often kissed its opening;

My soul, envious of physical coitus,

Made it a musky vessel for sobs and tears.

This is the rapturous olive, the tender flute;

The tube from which flows down heavenly praline:

A feminine Canaan enclosed in moisture

(Quatrains by Paul Verlaine; tercets by Artur Rimbaud)

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Posted

Seems quite apt that a poet whose name starts with "Rim" would contribute to the above poem. :heh:

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You can imagine how well this poem went over in a France devoted to poems about flowers, or as Rimbaud described them, "enema bags of ecstasy." :heh:

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I tinkered with the translation, because I wasn't happy with the one provided in the book I'm using.

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:davidm1: 's last post reminded me of this snippet from Byron's Don Juan

And Juan wept and much he sighed and thought,

While his salt tears dropped into the salt sea.

'Sweets to the sweet' (I like so much to quote,

You must excuse this extract; 'tis where she,

The Queen of Denmark, for Ophelia brought

Flowers to the grave). And sobbing often, he

Reflected on his present situation

And seriously resolved on reformation.

'Farewell, my Spain, a long farewell!' he cried,

'Perhaps I may revisit thee no more,

But die, as many an exiled heart hath died,

Of its own thirst to see again thy shore.

Farewell, where Guadalquivir's waters glide,

Farewell, my mother, and since all is o'er,

Farewell, too, dearest Julia!" Here he drew

Her letter out again and read it through.

'And oh, if e'er I should forget, I swear -

But that's impossible and cannot be.

Sooner shall this blue ocean melt to air,

Sooner shall earth resolve itself to sea

Than I resign thine image, oh my fair!

Or think of anything excepting thee.

A mind diseased no remedy can physic.'

(Here the ship gave a lurch and he grew seasick.)

'Sooner shall heaven kiss earth' (here he fell sicker) -

'Oh Julia, what is every other woe?

(For God's sake, let me have a glass of liquor,

Pedro, Battista, help me down below.)

Julia, my love (you rascal, Pedro, quicker),

Oh Julia (this curst vessel pitches so),

Belovèd Julia, hear me still beseeching!'

(Here he grew inarticulate with retching.)

Don Juan, Canto II, Stanzas 17-20

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Posted

I wonder if it might be a good idea to merge this thread with Tzela's vowels thread for one nice all-purpose Rimbaud thread? It's up to :davey: and :tzela:

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This gentleman votes in favour of the merger.

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OK, let's wait to hear from :tzela::)

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I'm not sure what exactly a thread merger entails, but go ahead. It is a little redundant to have two. :)

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It just means the two threads are made into one thread in some logical consistent way. Scotty can do it, he is the Man, the Systems Admin Man. :)

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MATIN D'IVRESSE

O mon Bien ! O mon Beau ! Fanfare atroce où je ne trébuche point! Chevalet féerique! Hourra pour l'oeuvre inouïe et pour le corps merveilleux, pour la première fois ! Cela commença sous les rires des enfants, cela finira par eux. Ce poison va rester dans toutes nos veines même quand, la fanfare tournant, nous serons rendus à l'ancienne inharmonie. O maintenant, nous si digne de ces tortures ! rassemblons fervemment cette promesse surhumaine faite à notre corps et à notre âme créés: cette promesse, cette démence ! L'élégance, la science, la violence ! On nous a promis d'enterrer dans l'ombre l'arbre du bien et du mal, de déporter les honnêtetés tyranniques, afin que nous amenions notre très pur amour. Cela commença par quelques dégoûts et cela finit, - ne pouvant nous saisir sur-le-champ de cette éternité, - cela finit par une débandade de parfums.

Rire des enfants, discrétion des esclaves, austérité des vierges, horreur des figures et des objets d'ici, sacrés soyez-vous par le souvenir de cette veille. Cela commençait par toute la rustrerie, voici que cela finit par des anges de flamme et de glace.

Petite veille d'ivresse, sainte ! quand ce ne serait que pour le masque dont tu as gratifié. Nous t'affirmons, méthode ! Nous n'oublions pas que tu as glorifié hier chacun de nos âges. Nous avons foi au poison. Nous savons donner notre vie tout entière tous les jours.

Voici le temps des Assassins.

I'm unsatisfied with the translation I've seen of this work, so I'm going to leave it to :tzela: to see what she can come up with...

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On second thoughts, while we're waiting for Tzela, I think I'll copy out the translation I have, then we can compare them. :nod:

DRUNKEN MORNING

Goodness and Beauty, and they're mine! The noise is unbearable but it won't faze me! Storybook tortures! Hurray (for once) for great work and bodily miracles! Children's laughter marks both beginning and end. This poison lingers in our veins even when we withdraw to the silence of prior discord. Now that we warrant such torture, let's make good on the super-human promise our bodies and souls deserve: this promise, this madness! Elegance, silence, violence! They promised to bury the tree of good and evil in the shadows, and cast off tyrannical shackles of decency, so we could cultivate true love. The beginning was begun on the border with disgust, and the end - unable to seize eternity while on the run - the end unfolds with a stampede of perfume.

Children's laughter, sobriety of slaves, austerity of virgins, fear of faces and forms from this place - be blessed by this memory of this night. In the beginning there was hooliganism, in the end angels of ice and fire.

Sacred drunken night! Sacred if only for the mask you grant us. Fair enough! We won't forget how you blessed our hours. We put faith in poison. We know how to live completely, every day.

Behold an age of Assassins.

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Dave, that's a pretty decent translation. Where does it come from? I've seen a number of wildly varying translations of this work (In one it's "elegance, SCIENCE, violence;" surely it's either silence or science, unless the French word is the same for both) and this seems a rather significant though somewhat enigmatic poem, as are all of R's works, especially the late ones when he got all super mystical and symbolist. It can be seen to prefigure his abandonment of poetry, or it can, as others have thought, to just be a poem about hashish (assassin/hashish similar in French apparently). Or something else. What do you think it is about? Another idea is that it is a poem about growing up into a horrid world and being forced to abandon all one's ideals and realizing that the world is a place of assassins and it's kill or be killed.

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On second thoughts, while we're waiting for Tzela, I think I'll copy out the translation I have, then we can compare them. :nod:

Good thought. I don’t have so many problems with this, as with the translations of Voyelles I found, but there are places where I would definitely go a different way, and maybe it would be of interest to you guys to see them.

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It can be seen to prefigure his abandonment of poetry, or it can, as others have thought, to just be a poem about hashish (assassin/hashish similar in French apparently).

They way I’ve always heard it is that, pretty much since the Crusades, Europeans have thought the word ‘assassin’ was derived from the same root as ‘hashish’, and that the original assassins were takers of the drug, or possibly paid in it. That’s considered doubtful now, but the associations would have been present during the 19th century.

Of course, even if it is a poem about hashish, it’s probably not just a poem about hashish.

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Okay, it’s ready! Although I can’t guarantee I won’t feel like messing with it later on….

Drunken Morning

Goodness and beauty are mine! A terrible fanfare, yet I don’t falter one bit! Fairy tortures! Hurrah for the unprecedented work and for the body, marvelous for the first time! It began with the laughs of children, and it will end by them. This same poison will still be in our veins when the fanfare sours, and we will have returned to the old discord. Oh, but now, we who are so worthy of these tortures fervently embrace this superhuman promise made to our created body and soul: this promise, this madness! Elegance, science, violence! We were promised that the tree of good and evil would be buried in shadow, that we would be delivered from tyrannical honesties, so that, finally, we could realize our purest love. It began with a few disgusts, and it ends-- we being unable to immediately seize this eternity-- it ends with a rout of perfumes.

Laughter of children, discretion of slaves, austerity of virgins, horror of the faces and objects of this place, be sacred by the memory of this vigil! It began by every kind of loutishness, and it ends here, by angels of fire and ice.

Holy drunken vigil! Holy, if only for the mask you granted us. We affirm you, method! We haven’t forgotten that, yesterday, you glorified each one of our ages. We have faith in poison. We know how to give away our whole life, day by day.

This is the time of assassins.

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I think it should be science, I just misread it.

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