Arthur Rimbaud

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

The Parisian Orgy - Poem by Arthur Rimbaud

O cowards! There she is!
Pile out into the stations!
The sun with its fiery lungs blew clear
the boulevards that, one evening,
the Barbarians filled.

Here is the holy City, seated in the West! Come!
We'll stave off the return of the fires;
here are the quays, here are the boulevards,
here are the houses against the pale,
radiant blue-starred, one evening,
by the red flashes of bombs!

Hide the dead places with forests of planks!
Affrighted, the dying daylight freshens your looks.
Look at the red-headed troop of the wrigglers of hips:
be mad, you'll be comical, being haggard!

Pack of bitches on heat, eating poultices:
the cry from the houses of gold calls you!
Plunder! Eat! See the night of joy and deep twitchings
coming down on the street.

O desolate drinkers, Drink! When the light comes,
intense and crazed, to ransack round you the rustling luxuries,
you're not going to dribbe into your glasses
without motion or sound, with your eyes lost in white distances?

Knock it back: to the Queen whose buttocks cascade in folds!
Listen to the working of stupid tearing hiccups!
Listen to them leaping n the fiery night:
the panting idiots, the aged, the nonentities, the lackeys!

O hearts of filth, appalling mouths;
work harder, mouths of foul stenches!
Wine for these ignoble torpors, at these tables…
Your bellies are melting with shame, O Conquerors!

Open your nostrils to these superb nauseas!
Steep the tendons of your necks in strong poisons!
Laying his crossed hands on the napes of your childish necks,
the Poet says to you: 'O cowards! Be mad!
Because you are ransacking the guts of Woman,
you fear another convulsion from her, crying out,
and stifling your infamous perching on her breast with a horrible pressure.

Syphilitics, madmen, kings, puppets, ventriloquists!
What can you matter to Paris the whore?
Your souls or your bodies, your poisons or your rags?
She'll shake you off, you pox-rotten snarlers!
And when you are down, whimpering on your bellies,
your sides wrung, clamouring for your money back, distracted,
the red harlot with her breasts swelling
with battles will clench her hard fists,
far removed from your stupor!'
When your feet, Paris, danced so hard in anger!
When you had so many knife wounds; when you lay helpless,
still retaining in your clear eyes a little of the goodness
of the tawny spring; O city in pain;
O city almost dead, with your face and your two breasts
pointing towards the Future
which opens to your pallor its thousand million gates;
city whom the dark Past could bless:
Body galvanized back to life to suffer tremendous pains,
you are drinking in dreadful life once more!
You feel he ghastly pale worms flooding back in your veins,
the icy fingers prowling on your unclouded love!
And it does you no harm.
The worms, the pale worms, will obstruct your breath of Progress no more
than the Stryx could extinguish the eyes of the Caryatides,
from whose blue sills fell tears of sidereal gold.
Although it is frightful to see you again
covered in this fashion; although no city was ever made
into a more foul-smelling ulcer
on the face of green Nature, the Poet says to you:
'Your beauty is Marvelous!' The tempest sealed you in supreme poetry;
the huge stirring of strength comes to your aid;
your work comes to the boil, death groans, O chosen City!
Hoard in your heart the stridors of the ominous trumpet.
The Poet will take the sobs of the Infamous
the hate of the Galley-slaves, the clamour of the Damned;
and the beams of his love will scourge Womankind.
His verses will leap out: There's for you! There! Villains! -Society,
and everything, is restored: - the orgies are weeping
with dry sobs in the old brothels:
and on the reddened walls the gaslights in frenzy flare
balefully upwards to the wan blue skies!


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Poem Submitted: Saturday, April 3, 2010



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