Novel Poem by Arthur Rimbaud


Rating: 3.7


No one's serious at seventeen.
--On beautiful nights when beer and lemonade
And loud, blinding cafés are the last thing you need
--You stroll beneath green lindens on the promenade.

Lindens smell fine on fine June nights!
Sometimes the air is so sweet that you close your eyes;
The wind brings sounds--the town is near--
And carries scents of vineyards and beer. . .


--Over there, framed by a branch
You can see a little patch of dark blue
Stung by a sinister star that fades
With faint quiverings, so small and white. . .

June nights! Seventeen!--Drink it in.
Sap is champagne, it goes to your head. . .
The mind wanders, you feel a kiss
On your lips, quivering like a living thing. . .


The wild heart Crusoes through a thousand novels
--And when a young girl walks alluringly
Through a streetlamp's pale light, beneath the ominous shadow
Of her father's starched collar. . .

Because as she passes by, boot heels tapping,
She turns on a dime, eyes wide,
Finding you too sweet to resist. . .
--And cavatinas die on your lips.


You're in love. Off the market till August.
You're in love.--Your sonnets make Her laugh.
Your friends are gone, you're bad news.
--Then, one night, your beloved, writes. . .!

That night. . .you return to the blinding cafés;
You order beer or lemonade. . .
--No one's serious at seventeen
When lindens line the promenade.


Arthur Rimbaud at his finest..truly amazing poem! one of my favorites!

6 3 Reply
Brian Routh 27 November 2005

i find it to be really odd that this is the only poem by such a major french poet that is available on this site!

4 3 Reply

The eternal youth...loses his power due to the lack of his masterpieces.Need more 'Illuminations', Novel's only a part of his poetic majesty....

4 2 Reply
Robert Rorabeck 27 April 2007

This is a great translation of Novel- I'm in love with the poem- It comes from Rimbaud Complete, which, as it says, has all of Rimbaud's poems. Worth checking out.

3 2 Reply
Kinyua Karanja 25 September 2015

No one is serious at seventeen I just like this since it's the fact of life, Nice piece.

3 2 Reply
Me Poet Yeps Poet 10 September 2020

I think LOVE only flows through one's eyes when one is of a day short of seventeen shy then hopes beyond the skies lie as dreams above to heavens fly and then hopes we lie at seventeen oh my Lord of love come along I am now off seventeen so now I to you belong come along..You may be no more but poet love we all adore in heaven all the more Thanks for the inspiration O LOVELY LOVE POET

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Damion 26 March 2019

What awesome poem. I loved it when I read it years ago and I love it even now. It makes you long for a place that may no longer be there.

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Faith thomas 03 June 2018

Very good poem thanks so so much

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Joe Blow 28 November 2015

Classic Rimbaud, the unsuspecting paradigm shift: that night your lover writes...(something sweet...i love you) , NO, that night you return to the Blinding cafes and order beer, but then he brings you out of the hole with another paradigm shift - -no one's serious at seventeen. Rimbaud in A Season In Hell, mentions Islam a couple times, but in all his writings he never once uses the words Jew or Jewish. In this poem he talks about dark blue stung by a sinister star small and white. I will often think of him often at all times of the day and He did come after shakespear

1 0 Reply
Douglas Scotney 25 September 2015

if blinding cafes are too that at 17, can I use that as an excuse for not going to a party at 62?

1 0 Reply
Arthur Rimbaud

Arthur Rimbaud

Charleville, Ardennes
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