Arthur Rimbaud

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

Memory - Poem by Arthur Rimbaud

I.
Clear water; [stinging] like the salt of a child's tears,
the whiteness of women's bodies attacking the sun;
silken, in masses and pure lily, banners under the walls a maiden defended;
The frolic of angels - No… the current of gold in motion moves its arms,
dark and above all cool, of green. She [the weed] sinks,
and having the blue Heaven for a canopy,
takes for curtains the shade of the hill and of the arch.

II.
Oh! The wet surface stretches out its clear bubbles!
The water covers the made beds with pale and bottomless gold;
[it is as if] the faded green dresses of little girls
[were] playing at willows, out of which leap the unbridled birds.
Purer than a gold louis, yellow warm eyelid, the marsh marigold -
thy conjugal faith O Spouse! - at noon sharp,
from its dull mirror, envies the rosy beloved
Sphere in the sky wan with heat.

III.
Madame holds herself too erect in the neighbouring meadow
where the threads of [the spider's] toil are snowing down'
parasol in her fingers; crushing the cow-parsley;
too proud for her; children reading
in the flowery greenness; their red morocco book! Alas,
He, like a thousand white angels parting on the roadway,
makes off beyond the mountain!
She, quite cold, and dark, runs!
After the flight of the man!

IV.
Nostalgia for the thick young arms of pure green!
Gold of the April moons in the heart of the hallowed bed!
Joy of the abandoned boat-yards, the prey to the August evenings
which quickened these corruptions!
How she weeps, now, under he ramparts!
The breath of the poplars above is all there is for a breeze.
Then it is the sheet of water without reflections
and without a spring, grey: an old man, a dredger,
in his motionless boat, labours.

V.
Plaything of this eye of mournful water, I cannot reach -
O boat without motion! O too short arms! -
either this flower or that one: neither the yellow one
which importunes me here; nor the blue one,
the beloved in the ashes water.
Ah! The pollen of willows which a wing shakes!
The roses of the reeds, long since eaten away!
My boat still fast; and its anchor chain taut to the bottom
of this limitless eye of water, - in what slime? ---------------
What does it matter to us, my heart,
the sheets of blood And of red-hot coals,
and a thousand murders, and long howls Of rage ;
sobbings from every inferno destroying Every (kind of) order ;
and still the North wind across the wreckage ;
And all the vengeance ? Nothing !... -
But still, yes We desire it ! Industrialists, princes,
senates, Perish ! Power, justice, history : down !
It is our due. Blood ! blood ! the golden flame !
All to war, to vengeance, to terror, My soul !
Let us turn in the wound : Ah !
away with you, Republics of this world !
Of Emperors, Regiments, colonists, peoples, enough !
Who should stir the vortices of furious flames
But we and those whom we imagine brothers ?
It's our turn, romantic friends : we are Going to enjoy it.
Never shall we labour, O fiery waves !
Europe, Asia, America - vanish !
Our march of vengeance has occupied every place,
Cities and countrysides ! - We shall be smashed !
The volcanoes will explode ! And the Ocean, smitten...
Oh ! my friends ! - My heart, it is certain ; they are brothers ;
Dark strangers, if we began ! Come on ! Come on ! -
O evil fortune ! I feel myself tremble, the old earth,
On me who am more and more yours ! the earth melts.
It is nothing : I am here ; I am still here.


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Poem Submitted: Saturday, April 3, 2010



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