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Arthur Rimbaud

(20 October 1854 – 10 November 1891 / Charleville, Ardennes)

Cities Vagabonds


These 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,
a 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?

Submitted: Saturday, April 03, 2010

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