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Entries in Rimbaud (3)


Rimbaud, "Les corbeaux"

A work ("The ravens") by this French poet.  You can read the original here

When prairies, Lord, breathe but cold words,
And ravaged hamlets sleep in peace,            
And angelus bells hang unheard,   
Upon unflowered, waning leas, 
Let fall from your grey monstrous skies                 
That dear and tasty raven flesh.

Strange army of malicious cries,             
The frigid winds attack your nests!
Along the yellowed rivers' roll  
Upon the Calvary's broad bend,
Above the gullies and the holes,          
Disperse and rally, foe or friend!

Upon the fields of France they feed,
Where sleep the dead of yesteryear, 
And thousands swirl in wintry greed                        
So that each passer-by may fear!    
Be now the herald of our yoke,              
Our black funereal bird of harm!

O holy saints atop the oak,     
Lost masts amidst the evening charm,
Leave warblers of the month of May                          
To those led on by woods' retreat, 
Bestride the grass they aim to stay         
A sad and futureless defeat.


Rimbaud, "Roman"

A work ("Romance") by this French poet.  You can read the original here.


A serious seventeen cannot be right.
Sweet eve, to hell with bocks and lemonade,
Cafés so rowdy under brightest lights!
Beneath the green lime trees we promenade.

These limes smell good by good June evenings' cheer!
Sometimes with air so soft that lids come down;
And the noise-bearing wind to unfar town,
Brings forth the scent of vine and scent of beer.


And here a tiny rag appears, dark blue,
Surrounded by a little branch's might, 
Purloined by a bad star, which melts into
The dark in gentle quakes, so small, all-white.

O, night of June!  O, seventeen!  We drink!
The champagne sap rises to your head at least;
We ramble; our lips feel a kiss's wing 
There batting before us like some small beast.


Mad Robinsonian heart, you've had romance,
When in the clarity of pale reverb,
A maiden walks of charming, tender glance,
Beneath her father's fearsome collar's curve.

As she deems you naïve, immensely so,
While trotting all around her small boot size,
Aware of lively movement, turning slow, 
Upon your lips each cavatina dies.


You are in love: till August month unsad.
You are in love: your sonnets make her roar.
Your friends have all left now: your taste is bad. 
And then one eve your love deigned to write more!

And that eve to cafés bright you return,
You ask for bocks or for some lemonade.
For seventeen's a hardly serious age,
Beneath the boardwalk green lime trees to yearn.


Rimbaud, "Première soirée"

 A work ("First evening") by this French poet.  You can read the original here.

Undressed was she, O how undressed,                           
As large and shameless trees appeared;                   
Each leaf a window pane caressed,      
With guile and O so near, so near.

Upon my chair she lay half-nude,            
Her white hands softly thus entwined;
Upon the floor, a coy étude:
Her little feet, so fine, so fine.

And I then saw, as bright as wax,
A hidden ray of light repose,
Which flitted in a smile's red tracks
And on her breast, a fly or rose.

I kissed her ankles, and so thrilled; 
A soft and brutal laugh she gave
And stretched in echoes of clear trills,
The lovely laugh of crystal cave.

As those small feet beneath her gown
Escaped, she quipped: "Won't you relent!"
The first bold move had brought no frown,
Just laughter feigning punishment!

And palpitating by my lip,
Her poor bright eyes I softly kissed;
Her vapid head began to slip
Far back: "So better now!" she hissed.

"Now sir, I must reveal this much" –
But then upon her breast I dived
With kisses matched to every touch,  
And laughter that was scarce contrived.

Undressed was she, divine, undressed.
As large and shameless trees did peer
In windows grazed by leaf's caress, 
To us they came so near, so near.