Poem crack 5

Rimbaud . Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud



brother! What frightful nights I owed him!

“I have not put enough ardor

into this enterprise.

I have trifled with his infirmity.

My fault should we go back to exile,

and to slavery.”

He implied I was unlucky

and of a very strange innocence,

and would add disquieting reasons.

For reply, I would jeer at this Satanic doctor

and, in the end, going over to the window,

I would create, beyond the countryside

crossed by bands of rare music,

phantoms of nocturnal extravagance to come.

After this vaguely hygienic diversion,

I would lie down on my pallet

and no sooner asleep than,

almost every night,

the poor brother would rise,

his mouth foul, eyes starting from his head,

— just as he had dreamed he looked!

and would drag me into the room,

howling his dream of imbecilic sorrow.

I had, in truth, pledged myself to restore him

to his primitive state of child of the Sun,–

and, nourished by the wine of caverns

and the biscuit of the road, we wandered,

I impatient to find the place and the formula.

Arthur Rimbaud__Le Bateau Ivre
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Rimbaud . Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud



my Beautiful! Oh, my Good!

Hideous fanfare where

yet I do not stumble!

Oh, rack of enchantments!

For the first time,

hurrah for the unheard-of work,

For the marvelous body!

For the first time!

It began with the laughter of children,

and there it will end.

This poison will stay in our veins even when,

as the fanfares depart,

We return to our former disharmony.

Oh, now, we who are so worthy of these tortures!

Let us re-create ourselves

after that superhuman promise

Made to our souls and our bodies at their creation:

That promise, that madness!

Elegance, silence, violence!

They promised to bury in shadows the tree of good and evil,

To banish tyrannical honesty,

So that we might flourish in our very pure love.

It began with a certain disgust, and it ended–

Since we could not immediately seize upon eternity–

It ended in a scattering of perfumes.

Laughter of children, discretion of slaves, austerity of virgins,

Horror of faces and objects here below,

Be scared in the memory of the evening past.

It began in utter boorishness,

and now it ends In angels of fire and ice.

Little drunken vigil, blessed!

If only for the mask you have left us!

Method, we believe in you!

We never forgot that yesterday

You glorified all our ages. We have faith in poison.

We will give our lives completely, everyday.

For this is the assassin’s hour.

Arthur Rimbaud__Rimbaud
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Rimbaud . Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud



du R�gent

Flowerbeds of amaranths right up to

The pleasant palace of Jupiter. –

I know it is Thou, who is this place,

Minglest thine almost Saharan Blue !

Then, since rose and fir-tree of the sun

And tropical creeper have their play enclosed here,

The little widow’s cage !…

What, Flocks of birds, o iaio, iaio !… –

Calm houses, old passions !

Summerhouse of the Lady who ran mad for love.

After the buttocks of the rosebushes,

the balcony Of Juliet, shadowy and very low. –

La Juliette, that reminds me of l’Henriette,

A charming railway station,

At the heart of a mountain, as if the bottom of an orchard

Where a thousand blue devils dance in the air !

Green bench where in stormy paradise,

The white Irish girl sings to the guitar.

Then, from the Guianian dining-room,

Chatter of children and of cages.

The duke’s window which makes me think

Of the poison of snails and of boxwood

Sleeping down here in the sun.

And then, It is too beautiful ! too ! Let us maintain our silence. –

Boulevard without movement or business,

Dumb, every drama and every comedy,

Unending concentration of scenes,

I know you and I admire you in silence.

*** Is she an Almeh ?…

in the first blue hours

Will she destroy herself like flowers of fire…

In front of the splendid sweep where one may smell

The enormous flowering city’s breath !

It’s too beautiful ! It’s too beautiful ! but it is necessary –

For the Fisherwoman*

and the Corsair’s song,

And also because the last masqueraders still believed

In nocturnal festivities on the pure sea !


Total Eclipse__Selected Poems and Letters
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Rimbaud . Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud



the gray of crystal.

A strange design of bridges,

some straight, some arched,

others descending at oblique angles to the first;

and these figures recurring

in other lighted circuits of the canal,

but all so long and light that the banks,

laden with domes, sink and shrink.

A few of these bridges

are still covered with hovels,

others support polls,

signals, frail parapets.

Minor chords cross

each other and disappear;

ropes rise from the shore.

One can make out a red coat,

possibly other costumes

and musical instruments.

Are these popular tunes,

snatches of seigniorial concerts,

remnants of public hymns?

The water is gray and blue,

wide as an arm of the sea.

A white ray falling from high

in the sky destroys this comedy.

Arthur Rimbaud__A Season in Hell & Drunken Boat
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Rimbaud . Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud



being too thorny for my great personality.

–I found myself nevertheless at my lady’s,

an enormous gray-blue bird soaring toward the moldings

of the ceiling and trailing my wings

through the shadows of the evening.

At the foot of the canopy supporting her adored gems

and her physical masterpieces, I was a great bear

with violet gums, fur hoary with sorrow,

eyes on the silver and crystal of the consoles.

Everything became shadow and ardent aquarium.

In the morning,– bellicose dawn of June,–

a donkey, I rushed into the fields,

braying and brandishing my grievance,

until the Sabine women of the suburbs

came and threw themselves on my neck.

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Rimbaud . Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud

My Bohemian Existence

I went off
with my hands in my torn coat pockets;

my overcoat too was becoming ideal;

I travelled beneath the sky,

Muse! and I was your vassal;

Oh dear me! what marvellous loves

I dreamed of! My only pair of breeches

had a big hole in them. —

Stragazing Tom Thumb,

I sowed my rhymes along the way.

My tavern was at the Sign of the Great Bear.

— My stars in the sky rustled softly.

And I listened to them, sitting on the road-sides

on those pleasant September evenings

while I felt drops of dew on my forehead

like vigorous wine; and while,

rhyming among the fantastical shadows,

I plucked the strings of a lyre

the elastics of my tattered boots,

one foot close to my heart!

Arthur Rimbaud__Arthur Rimbaud
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Rimbaud . Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud



are cities!

And this is the people for whom these

Alleghenys and Lebanons of dream have been raised!

Castles of wood and crystal move on tracks and invisible winches.

Old craters ringed with mammoth statues and

coppery palms roar melodiously in flames.

Festivals of love reverberate

from the canals suspended behind the castles.

Chimes echo through the gorges like a chase.

Corporations of giant singers assemble,

their vestments and oriflames

brilliant as the mountain-peaks.

On platforms in the midst of gulfs,

Rolands brazen their bravuras.

From abysmal catwalks and the rooftops of inns,

burning sky hoists flags upon the masts.

The collapse of apotheosis

unites the heights to the depths

where seraphic shecentaurs

wind among the avalanches.

Above the plateaus of the highest reaches,

the sea, troubled by the perpetual birth of Venus

and loaded with choral fleets amid

an uproar of pearls and precious conches,

grows dark at times with mortal thunder.

On the slopes,

harvests of flowers

as big as our weapons

and goblets are bellowing.

Processions of Mabs in red-opaline scale the ravines.

On high, their feet in the waterfalls and briars,

stags give suck to Diana.

Bacchantes of the suburbs weep,

and the moon burns and howls.

Venus enters the caves

of the black-smiths and hermits.

Clusters of belfries repeat the ideas of the people.

Issues from castles of bone an unknown music.

In the boroughs legends

are born and enthusiasm germinate.

A paradise of storms collapses.

Savages dance without stopping the festival of night.

And, for one hour, I descended into the swarm

of a boulevard of Baghdad

where groups of peple were singing

the joy of the new work,

circulating under a heavy wind

without being able to escape those fabulous phantoms

of the mountains to which one must return.

What good arms, what wondrous hour

will restore to me that region

whence come my slumbers

and least movements?

Arthur Rimbaud__Le Bateau Ivre
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Rimbaud . Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud



official Acropolis is of all the conceptions of modern barbarism the
most colossal:

indescribable is the unpolished daylight the sky produces, the immovable

the imperial radiance of buildings under the sun’s eternal snow.

With a singular flair for the enormous, all the classical marvels of
architecture have been reproduced,

and I visit expositions of painting in galleries twenty times as huge
as Hampton Court.

And what painting! a Norwegian Nebuchadnezzar had built ministerial

the mere clerks were prouder than Brennuses and I

trembled before the guards and superintendents. The very arrangement
of buildings in squares,

courtyards and terraces made the cab-drivers drunk. The parks indicate
primitive nature

worked over with consummate art, the upper quarter having inexplicable

an arm of the sea, without ships, rolling its sheet of sleet between
quays covered with giant candelabra.

A short bridge leads to a postern directly under the dome of the Sainte-chapelle.

This dome has an armature of wrought steel about 15,000 feet in diameter.

At certain points, from copper footbridges, from platforms,

from stairways winding about the halls and piers, I thought

I might be able to judge the depth of the city. But it is prodigious
beyond calculation:

what are the levels of those other quarters lying above or below the

For a stranger of our times, reconnaissance is impossible.

The commercial quarter is a circus in one style, with arcaded galleries.

no shops are to be seen, but the snow on the causeway is beaten down;

a few nabobs, as rare as pedestrians on a Sunday morning in London,

amble toward a diligence of diamonds. Divans in red velvet;

iced beverages are sold at prices ranging from 800 to 1,000 rupees.

At the very thought of looking for theatres in this circus,

I remind myself that the shops should contain dramas sufficiently gloomy.

I suppose there is a police force; but the law must be so strange that

abandon any idea of imagining what sort of adventures are local.

The residential quarter, as elegant as the smartest street in Paris,

is favored with an aura of light; the democratic element numbers a few
thousand souls.

There again, the houses are not in country, or rather ‘county’,

which fills the west endlessly with forests and vast plantations

where unsociable gentlemen search for their family-trees by rays of
artificial light.

Collected Poems__Rimbaud
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Absinthe is an addictive, intoxicating drink most popular during the 18th century. Artists, poets, painters, writers of the time were indulged to this drink of purpose enhancing imagination and creativity. Rimbaud being one of them was highly familiar to absinthe, together with lover Verlaine who was drawn to the absurdity of drinking and died of debauchery.

“For me, my glory is but a humble ephemeral absinthe drunk on the sly, with fear of treason and if I drink no longer, it is for good reason!”

Paul Verlaine

“After the first glass, you see things as you wish they were. After the second, you see things as they are not. Finally, you see things as they really are, which is the most horrible thing in the world.”

Oscar Wilde

Absinthe takes its name from Artemisia absinthium, the botanical name for the bitter herb wormwood and one of its ingredients, thujone, a natural chemical compound that is the supposed source of absinthe?s alleged mind altering properties. Wormwood was first used to flavor alcoholic drinks as far back as 1792, when a potion was created by Pierre Ordinaire, a French doctor living in Switzerland. Ordinaire’s elixir also contained anise, hyssop, Melissa, coriander and various other local herbs, and at 68% alcohol presumably packed quite a punch. Ordinaire allegedly left his recipe to two sisters, and they in turn passed it on to a Major Dubied whose son-in-law was one Henri-Louis Pernod. Whatever the truth behind its origins, absinthe stopped being a local curiosity and started on its route to becoming a national phenomenon in 1797 with the foundation of a distillery by Major Dubied, his son and his son-in-law. By the mid 19th century there were at least half a dozen producers operating in the region, with Pernod alone producing 20,000 liters a day from 26 stills. The success of Pernod as a brand brought many imitators and the company went to court to prevent these trading on their hard-earned reputation. It was the introduction of these cheaper, adulterated imitations that may have been responsible for the reputation that absinthe gained for causing delirium and madness in those who drank it. From the mid 19th century onwards absinthe became associated with bohemian Paris and featured frequently in the paintings of such artists as Manet, Van Gogh and Picasso. When they were not painting it they were drinking it in large quantities, joined by contemporary poets such as Baudelaire and Verlaine (who practically made a career out of it). In fact it was not just popular among artists and poets ? Parisian café³ were full of gentlemen drinking absinthe, so much so that the time between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. became known as L’heure verte (?the green hour,? in reference to absinthe?s color) and absinthe was the most popular aperitif in France. So, if absinthe was so popular, why was it banned? There were a number of reasons. It got caught up in the temperance movement that was sweeping Europe at the beginning of the 20th century and became the scapegoat for all alcohol. Then, findings were published showing that thujone was a neurotoxin in large quantities that caused convulsions and death in laboratory animals. There was also pressure from the wine producers who saw its popularity as a threat to their sales. The final nail was driven in the coffin with the lurid ?Absinthe Murder? that took place in Switzerland in 1905 when one Monsieur Lanfray shot his entire family after drinking absinthe. The fact that he had also consumed several liters of wine and a considerable amount of brandy was overlooked by the prohibitionists, and two years later absinthe was banned in Switzerland. By the start of the First World War, absinthe had been banned in the U.S. and every country in Europe except France, Spain and England. It is no exaggeration to compare the impact of banning absinthe to the effect that the banning of Scotch whisky would have on Scotland. What is modern absinthe like? Well, broadly speaking, if you like pastis you will like absinthe. Absinthe?s anise is not as heavy and a quality absinthe will be unsweetened (most are not), but there is a family resemblance. Remember that absinthe is not hallucinogenic and should not be drunk with any expectations of getting ?high.? It certainly has some effects that are secondary to the alcohol and these can best be described as a feeling of clarity and sharpness of perception. But do bear in mind that absinthe is far stronger than most spirits you will be used to ? if you overdo it, you will still be seeing the Green Fairy when you wake up the next day.

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Rimbaud . Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud


Common Nocturne

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. —

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,

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.

Arthur Rimbaud: Le voleur de Feu__Poesies / Une Saison en Enfer
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Rimbaud . Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud



what the Jews have not sold,

what neither nobility nor crime have tasted,

what is unknown to monstrous love

and to the infernal probity of the masses!

what neither time nor science need recognize: The Voices restored;

fraternal awakening of all choral and orchestral energies

and their instantaneous application; the opportunity, the only one,

for the release of our senses! For sale Bodies without price,

outside any race, any world, any sex, any lineage! Riches gushing at
every step!

Uncontrolled sale of diamonds!

For sale anarchy for the masses;

irrepressible satisfaction for rare connoisseurs;

agonizing death for the faithful and for lovers!

For sale colonization and migrations, sports,

fairylands and incomparable comforts,

and the noise and the movement

and the future they make!

For sale the application of calculations

and the incredible leaps of harmony.

Discoveries and terms never dreamed of,

— immediate possession.

Wild and infinite flight toward invisible splendors,

toward intangible delights–

and its maddening secrets for every vice

— and its terrifying gaiety for the mob.

For sale, the bodies, the voices,

the enormous and unquestionable wealth,

that which will never be sold.

Salesmen are not at the end of their stock!

It will be some time before travelers have to turn in their accounts.

A Season in Hell / Illuminations__Rimbaud
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Rimbaud . Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud



am an ephemeral

and a not too discontented citizen

of a metropolis considered modern

because all known taste

has been evaded in the furnishings

and the exterior of the houses

as well as in the layout of the city.

Here you will fail to detect the least trace

of any monument of superstition.

Morals and language

are reduced to their simplest expression,

last! The way these millions of people,

who do not even need to know each other,

manage their education, business,

and old age is so identical

that the course of their lives

must be several times less long

than that which a mad statistics

calculates for the people of the continent.

And from my window I see new specters rolling through

the thick eternal smoke–

our woodland shade, our summer night!–

new Eumenides in front of my cottage

which is my country and all my heart

since everything here resembles it,–

Death without tears,

our diligent daughter and servant,

a desperate Love, and a pretty

Crime howling in the mud in the street.

Arthur Rimbaud__Arthur Rimbaud
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Rimbaud . Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud



river rolls unknown in strange valleys;

the voices of a hundred rooks go with it,

the true benevolent voice of angles:

with the wide movements of the fir woods

when several winds sweep down.

Everything flows with [the] horrible mysteries of ancient landscapes;

of strongholds visited, of large estates:

it is along these banks that you can hear

the dead passions of errant knights:

but how the wind is wholesome!

Let the traveler look through these clerestories:

he will journey on more bravely.

Forest soldiers whom the Lord sends,

dear delightful rooks! Drive away from here the crafty peasant,

clinking glasses with his old stump of an arm.


Poetry of Rimbaud__Arthur Rimbaud
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Rimbaud . Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud


Being Beauteous

a fall

of snow,

a Being Beauiful,

and very tall.

Whistlings of death and circles of faint music

Make this adored body, swelling and trembling

Like a specter, rise…

and scarlet gashes burst in the gleaming flesh.

The true colors of life grow dark, Shimmering and sperate.

In the scaffolding, around the Vision.

Shiverings mutter and rise,

And the furious taste of these effects is charged

With deadly whistlings and the raucous music

That the world, far behind us,

hurls at our mother of beauty…

She retreats, she rises up…

Oh! Our bones have put on new flesh, for love.

Oh ash-white face. Oh tousled hair.

O crystal arms! On this cannot I mean to destroy myself

In a swirling of trees and soft air!

Rimbaud le Fils__Poetry of Rimbaud
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it possible that She will have me forgiven for ambitions continually

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

(O palms! diamond!– Love! strength!– higher than all joys and all

in any case, everywhere– demon, god,– Youth of this being: myself!)

That the accidents of scientific wonders and the movements of social

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.


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Rimbaud . Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud



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.

Total Eclipse__Arthur Rimbaud
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Rimbaud . Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud



my ancestors the Gauls I have pale blue eyes, a narrow brain, and awkwardness
in competition. I think my clothes are as barbaric as theirs. But I
don’t butter my hair.

The Gauls were the most stupid hide-flayers and hay-burners of their

From them I inherit: idolatry, and love of sacrilege– oh, all sorts
of vice; anger, lechery– terrific stuff, lechery– lying, above all,
and laziness.

I have a horror of all trades and crafts. Bosses and workers, all of
them peasants, and common. The hand that holds the pen is as good as
the one that holds the plow. (What a century for hands!) I’ll never
learn to use my hands. And then, domesticity goes too far. The propriety
of beggary shames me. Criminals are as disgusting as men without balls;
I’m intact, and I don’t care.

But who has made my tongue so treacherous, that until now it has counseled
and kept me in idleness? I have not used even my body to get along.
Out-idling the sleepy toad, I have lived everywhere. There’s not one
family in Europe that I don’t know. Families, I mean, like mine, who
owe their existence to the Declaration of the Rights of Man. I have
known each family’s eldest son!

If only I had a link to some point in the history of France!

But instead, nothing.

I am well aware that I have always been of an inferior race. I cannot
understand revolt. My race has never risen, except to plunder; to devour
like wolves a beast they did not kill.

I remember the history of France, the Eldest Daughter of the Church.
I would have gone, a village serf, crusading to the Holy Land; my head
is full of roads in the Swabian plains, of the sight of Byzantium, of
the ramparts of Jerusalem; the cult of Mary, the pitiful thought of
Christ crucified, turns in my head with a thousand profane enchantments–
I sit like a leper among broken pots and nettles, at the foot of a wall
eaten away by the sun. –And later, a wandering mercenary, I would have
bivouacked under German nighttimes.

Ah! one thing more: I dance the Sabbath in a scarlet clearing, with
old women and children.

I don’t remember much beyond this land, and Christianity. I will see
myself forever in its past. But always alone, without a family; what
language, in fact, did I used to speak? I never see myself in the councils
of Christ; nor in the councils of the Lords, Christ’s representatives.
What was I in the century past? I only find myself today. The vagabonds,
the hazy wars are gone. The inferior race has swept over all– the People
(as they put it), Reason; Nation and Science.

Ah, Science! Everything is taken from the past. For the body and the
soul– the last sacrament– we have Medicine and Philosophy, household
remedies and folk songs rearranged. And royal entertainments, and games
that kings forbid. Geography, Cosmography, Mechanics, Chemistry!…

Science, the new nobility! Progress! The world moves!… And why shouldn’t

We have visions of numbers. We are moving toward the Spirit. What I
say is oracular and absolutely right. I understand… and since I cannot
express myself except in pagan terms, I would rather keep quiet.

Pagan blood returns! The Spirit is at hand… why does Christ not help
me, and grant my soul nobility and freedom? Ah, but the Gospel belongs
to the past! The Gospel. The Gospel…

I wait glutinously for God. I have been of an inferior race for ever
and ever.

And now I am on the beaches of Brittany…. Let cities light their lamps
in the evening; my daytime is done, I am leaving Europe. The air of
the sea will burn my lungs; lost climates will turn my skin to leather.
To swim, to pulverize grass, to hunt, above all to smoke; to drink strong
drinks, as strong as molten ore, as did those dear ancestors around
their fires.

I will come back with limbs of iron, with dark skin, and angry eyes;
in this mask, they will think I belong to a strong race. I will have
gold; I will be brutal and indolent. Women nurse these ferocious invalids
come back from the tropics. I will become involved in politics. Saved.

Now I am accursed, I detest my native land. The best thing is a drunken
sleep, stretched out on some strip of shore.

But no one leaves. Let us set out once more on our native roads, burdened
with my vice– that vice that since the age of reason has driven roots
of suffering into my side– that towers to heaven, beats me, hurls me
down, drags me on.

Ultimate innocence, final timidity. All’s said. Carry no more my loathing
and treacheries before the world.

Come on! Marching, burdens, the desert, boredom and anger.

Hire myself to whom? What beasts adore? What sacred images destroy?
What hearts shall I break? What lie maintain? Through what blood wade?

Better to keep away from justice. A hard life, outright stupor– with
a dried-out fist to lift the coffin lid, lie down, and suffocate. No
old age this way– no danger: terror is very un-French.

–Ah! I am so forsaken I will offer at any shrine impulses toward perfection.

Oh, my self-denial, my marvelous Charity, my Selfless love! And still
here below!

De profundis, Domine… what an ass I am!

When I was still a little child, I admired the hardened convict on whom
the prison door will always close; I used to visit the bars and the
rented rooms his presence had consecrated; I saw with his eyes the blue
sky and the flower-filled work of the fields; I followed his fatal scent
through city streets. He had more strength than the saints, more sense
than any explorer– and he, he alone! was witness to his glory and his

Along the open road on winter nights, homeless, cold, and hungry, one
voice gripped my frozen heart: “Weakness or strength: you exist, that
is strength…. You don’t know where you are going or why you are going;
go in everywhere, answer everyone. No one will kill you, any more than
if you were a corpse.” In the morning my eyes were so vacant and my
face so dead that the people I met may not even have seen me.

In cities, mud went suddenly red and black, like a mirror when a lamp
in the next room moves, like treasure in the forest! Good luck, I cried,
and I saw a sea of flames and smoke rise to heaven, and left and right
all wealth exploded like a billion thunderbolts.

But orgies and the companionship of women were impossible for me. Not
even a friend. I saw myself before an angry mob, facing a firing squad,
weeping out sorrows they could not understand, and pardoning– like
Joan of Arc!– “Priests, professors and doctors, you are mistaken in
delivering me into the hands of the law. I have never been one of you;
I have never been a Christian; I belong to the race that sang on the
scaffold; I do not understand your laws; I have no moral sense; I am
a brute; you are making a mistake….”

Yes, my eyes are closed to your light. I am an animal, a nigger. But
I can be saved. You are fake niggers; maniacs, savages, misers, all
of you. Businessman, you’re a nigger; judge, you’re a nigger; general,
you’re a nigger; emperor, old scratch-head, you’re a nigger: you’ve
drunk a liquor no one taxes, from Satan’s still. This nation is inspired
by fever and cancer. Invalids and old men are so respectable that they
ask to be boiled. The best thing is to quit this continent where madness
prowls, out to supply hostages for these wretches. I will enter the
true kingdom of the sons of Ham.

Do I understand nature? Do I understand myself? No more words! I shroud
dead men in my stomach…. Shouts, drums, dance, dance, dance! I can’t
even imagine the hour when the white men land, and I will fall into

Thirst and hunger, shouts, dance, dance, dance!

The white men are landing! Cannons! Now we must be baptized, get dressed,
and go to work.

My heart has been stabbed by grace. Ah! I hadn’t thought this would

But I haven’t done anything wrong. My days will be easy, and I will
be spared repentance. I will not have had the torments of the soul half-dead
to the Good, where austere light rises again like funeral candles. The
fate of a first-born son, a premature coffin covered with shining tears.
No doubt, perversion is stupid, vice is stupid; rottenness must always
be cast away. But the clock must learn to strike more than hours of
pure pain! Am I to be carried away like a child, to play in paradise,
forgetting all this misery?

Quick! Are there any other lives? Sleep for the rich is impossible.
Wealth has always lived openly. Divine love alone confers the keys of
knowledge. I see that nature is only a show of kindness. Farewell chimeras,
ideals and errors.

The reasonable song of angels rises from the rescue ship: it is divine
love. Two loves! I may die of earthly love, die of devotion. I have
left behind creatures whose grief will grow at my going. You choose
me from among the castaways; aren’t those who remain my friends?

Save them!

I am reborn in reason. The world is good. I will bless life. I will
love my brothers. There are no longer childhood promises. Nor the hope
of escaping old age and death. God is my strength, and I praise God.

Boredom is no longer my love. Rage, perversion, madness, whose every
impulse and disaster I know– my burden is set down entire. Let us appraise
with clear heads the extent of my innocence. I am no longer able to
ask for the consolation of a beating. I don’t imagine I’m off on a honeymoon
with Jesus Christ as my father-in-law.

I am no prisoner of my own reason. I have said: God. I want freedom,
within salvation: how shall I go about it? A taste for frivolity has
left me. No further need for divine love or for devotion to duty. I
do not regret the age of emotion and feeling. To each his own reason,
contempt, Charity: I keep my place at the top of the angelic ladder
of good sense.

As for settled happiness, domestic or not… no, I can’t. I am too dissipated,
too weak. Work makes life blossom, an old idea, not mine; my life doesn’t
weigh enough, it drifts off and floats far beyond action, that third
pole of the world.

What an old maid I’m turning into, to lack the courage to love death!

If only God would grant me that celestial calm, ethereal calm, and prayer–
like the saints of old. –The Saints! They were strong! Anchorites,
artists of a kind we no longer need….

Does this farce have no end? My innocence is enough to make me cry.
Life is the farce we all must play.

Stop it! This is your punishment…. Forward march! Ah! my lungs burn,
my temples roar! Night rolls in my eyes, beneath this sun! My heart…
my arms and legs….

Where are we going? To battle? I am weak! the others go on ahead…
tools, weapons… give me time!

Fire! Fire at me! Here! or I’ll give myself up! –Cowards! –I’ll kill
myself! I’ll throw myself beneath the horses’ hooves!

Ah!…–I’ll get used to it. That would be the French way, the path
of honor!

A Season in Hell / Illuminations__Rimbaud
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Rimbaud . Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud



Let it come, let it come, The season we can love! I have waited so long,
That at length I forget,

And leave unto heaven , My fear and regret; A sick thirst

Darkens my veins. Let it come, let it come, the season we can love!

So the green field, To oblivion falls, Overgrown, flowering,

With incense and weeds. And the cruel noise, Of dirty flies.

Let it come, let it come, the season we can love!

I loved the desert, burnt orchards, tired old shops, warm drinks. I
dragged myself through stinking alleys, and with my eyes closed I offered
myself to the sun, the god of fire. “General: If on your ruined ramparts
one cannon still remains, shell us with clods of dried-up earth. Shatter
the mirrors of expensive shops! And the drawing rooms! Make the city
swallow its dust! Turn gargoyles to rust. Stuff boudoirs with rubies’
fiery powder….” Oh, the little fly! Drunk at the urinal of a country
inn, in love with rotting weeds; a ray of light dissolves him!

Total Eclipse__Rimbaud
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Rimbaud . Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud



ancient beasts bred even on the run,

their glans encrusted with blood and excrement.

Our forefathers displayed their members proudly

by the fold of the sheath and the grain of the scrotum.

In the middle ages, for a female, angel or sow,

a fellow whose gear was substantial was needed;

and even a Kleber, judging by his breeches –

which exaggerate, perhaps, a little –

can’t have lacked resources.

Besides, man is equal to the proudest mammal;

we are wrong to be surprised at the hugeness of their members;

but a sterile hour has struck:

the gelding and the ox have bridled their ardours,

and no one will dare again to raise his genital pride

in the copses teeming with comical children.

Rimbaud__Arthur Rimbaud
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Rimbaud . Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud


of the Word

DELERIUM: The Alchemy of the Word

My turn now. The story of one of my insanities.

For a long time I boasted that I was master of all possible landscapes–
and I thought the great figures of modern painting and poetry were laughable.
What I liked were: absurd paintings, pictures over doorways, stage sets,
carnival backdrops, billboards, bright-colored prints, old-fashioned
literature, church Latin, erotic books full of misspellings, the kind
of novels our grandmothers read, fairy tales, little children’s books,
old operas, silly old songs, the na�ve rhythms of country rimes. I dreamed
of Crusades, voyages of discovery that nobody had heard of, republics
without histories, religious wars stamped out, revolutions in morals,
movements of races and continents; I used to believe in every kind of

I invented colors for the vowels! A black, E white, I red, O blue, U
green. I made rules for the form and movement of every consonant, and
I boasted of inventing, with rhythms from within me, a kind of poetry
that all the senses, sooner or later, would recognize. And I alone would
be its translator. I began it as an investigation. I turned silences
and nights into words. What was unutterable, I wrote down. I made the
whirling world stand still.

Far from flocks, from birds and country girls,

What did I drink within that leafy screen

Surrounded by tender hazelnut trees

In the warm green mist of afternoon?

What could I drink from this young Oise

–Tongueless trees, flowerless grass, dark skies–

Drink from these yellow gourds, far from the hut I loved?

Some golden draught that made me sweat.

I would have made a doubtful sign for an inn.

Later, toward evening, the sky filled with clouds…

Water from the woods runs out on virgin sands,

And heavenly winds cast ice thick on the ponds;

Then I saw gold, and wept, but could not drink.

* * *

At four in the morning, in summertime,

Love’s drowsiness still lasts…

The bushes blow away the odor Of the night’s feast.

Beyond the bright Hesperides,

Within the western workshop of the Sun,

Carpenters scramble– in shirtsleeves–

Work is begun.

And in desolate, moss-grown isles

They raise their precious panels

Where the city

Will paint a hollow sky.

For these charming dabblers in the arts

Who labor for a King in Babylon,

Venus! Leave for a moment

Lovers’ haloed hearts…

O Queen of Shepherds!

Carry the purest eau-de-vie

To these workmen while they rest

And take their bath at noonday, in the sea.

The worn-out ideas of old-fashioned poetry played an important part
in my alchemy of the word.

I got used to elementary hallucination: I could very precisely see a
mosque instead of a factory, a drum corps of angels, horse carts on
the highways of the sky, a drawing room at the bottom of a lake; monsters
and mysteries. A vaudeville’s title filled me with awe. And so I explained
my magical sophistries by turning words into visions! At last, I began
to consider my mind’s disorder a sacred thing. I lay about idle, consumed
by an oppressive fever: I envied the bliss of animals– caterpillars,
who portray the innocence of a second childhood; moles, the slumber
of virginity! My mind turned sour. I said farewell to the world in poems
something like ballads:

Total Eclipse__Rimbaud
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after the days and the seasons, and people and countries.

The banner of raw meat against the silk of seas and arctic flowers;

(they do not exist). Recovered from the old fanfares of heroism,–

which still attack the heart and head,– far from the old assassins.

— Oh! the banner of raw meat against the silk of seas and arctic flowers;

(they do not exist).– Bliss! Live embers raining in gusts of frost.–

Bliss!– fires in the rain of the wind of diamonds

flung out by the earth’s heart eternally carbonized for us.

— O world! (Far from the old retreats and the old flames, still heard,
still felt.)

Fire and foam. Magic, veering of chasms and clash of icicles against
the stars.

O bliss, O world, O music! And forms, sweat, eyes

and long hair floating there. And white tears boiling,–

O bliss!– and the feminine voice reaching to the bottom of volcanoes

and grottos of the arctic seas. The banner…

Arthur Rimbaud: Le voleur de Feu__Rimbaud in New York
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