Arthur Rimbaud

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

From 'The Cupboard' (Le Buffet) - Poem by Arthur Rimbaud

A large carved cupboard of white oak
emanates that relaxed gentle air
Old people have; open, it's kindly
shadows give off fragrances like fine

wine, it overflows with a jumble
of quaint frayed things: sweet
yellowed linen, torn women's clothes,
faded laces, grandmother's shawls

embroidered with griffins, children's shirts;
there must be lockets buried somewhere,
locks of white or blond hair, portraits
and dried flowers whose odors mingle

with the smell of apples and pears. O old-fashioned
cupboard, what stories you must know, it's obvious
you'd love to tell them each time your wide doors
slowly open and you clear your throat.


Original French

Le buffet


C'est un large buffet sculpté ; le chêne sombre,
Très vieux, a pris cet air si bon des vieilles gens ;
Le buffet est ouvert, et verse dans son ombre
Comme un flot de vin vieux, des parfums engageants ;

Tout plein, c'est un fouillis de vieilles vieilleries,
De linges odorants et jaunes, de chiffons
De femmes ou d'enfants, de dentelles flétries,
De fichus de grand'mère où sont peints des griffons ;

- C'est là qu'on trouverait les médaillons, les mèches
De cheveux blancs ou blonds, les portraits, les fleurs sèches
Dont le parfum se mêle à des parfums de fruits.

- O buffet du vieux temps, tu sais bien des histoires,
Et tu voudrais conter tes contes, et tu bruis
Quand s'ouvrent lentement tes grandes portes noires.


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Poem Submitted: Saturday, April 3, 2010



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