Arthur Rimbaud

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

First Evening (Première Soirée) - Poem by Arthur Rimbaud

Her clothes were almost off;
Outside, a curious tree
Beat a branch at the window
To see what it could see.

Perched on my enormous easy chair,
Half nude, she clasped her hands.
Her feet trembled on the floor,
As soft as they could be.

I watched as a ray of pale light,
Trapped in the tree outside,
Danced from her mouth
To her breast, like a fly on a flower.

I kissed her delicate ankles.
She had a soft, brusque laugh
That broke into shining crystals -
A pretty little laugh.

Her feet ducked under her chemise;
'Will you please stop it!…'
But I laughed at her cries -
I knew she really liked it.

Her eye trembled beneath my lips;
They closed at my touch.
Her head went back; she cried:
'Oh, really! That's too much!

'My dear, I'm warning you…'
I stopped her protest with a kiss
And she laughed, low -
A laugh that wanted more than this…

Her clothes were almost off;
Outside, a curious tree
Beat a branch at the window
To see what it could see.


Original French

Première Soirée


'- Elle était fort déshabillée
Et de grands arbres indiscrets
Aux vitres jetaient leur feuillée
Malinement, tout près, tout près.

Assise sur ma grande chaise,
Mi-nue, elle joignait les mains.
Sur le plancher frissonnaient d'aise
Ses petits pieds si fins, si fins

- Je regardai, couleur de cire
Un petit rayon buissonnier
Papillonner dans son sourire
Et sur son sein, - mouche ou rosier

- Je baisai ses fines chevilles.
Elle eut un doux rire brutal
Qui s'égrenait en claires trilles,
Un joli rire de cristal

Les petits pieds sous la chemise
Se sauvèrent : 'Veux-tu en finir !'
- La première audace permise,
Le rire feignait de punir !

- Pauvrets palpitants sous ma lèvre,
Je baisai doucement ses yeux :
- Elle jeta sa tête mièvre
En arrière : 'Oh ! c'est encor mieux !...

'Monsieur, j'ai deux mots à te dire...'
- Je lui jetai le reste au sein
Dans un baiser, qui la fit rire
D'un bon rire qui voulait bien.....

- Elle était fort déshabillée
Et de grands arbres indiscrets
Aux vitres jetaient leur feuillée
Malinement, tout près, tout près


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Poem Submitted: Saturday, April 3, 2010



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