Arthur Rimbaud

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

The Ancient Beasts - Poem by Arthur Rimbaud

The ancient beasts bred even on the run,
their glans encrusted with blood and excrement.
Our forefathers displayed their members proudly
by the fold of the sheath and the grain of the scrotum.

In the middle ages, for a female, angel or sow,
a fellow whose gear was substantial was needed;
and even a Kleber, judging by his breeches -
which exaggerate, perhaps, a little -
can't have lacked resources.

Besides, man is equal to the proudest mammal;
we are wrong to be surprised at the hugeness of their members;
but a sterile hour has struck:
the gelding and the ox have bridled their ardours,
and no one will dare again to raise his genital pride
in the copses teeming with comical children.


Original French
Les anciens animaux...

Les anciens animaux saillissaient, même en course,
Avec des glands bardés de sang et d'excrément.
Nos pères étalaient leur membre fièrement
Par le pli de la gaine et le grain de la bourse.

Au moyen âge pour la femelle, ange ou pource,
Il fallait un gaillard de solide gréement ;
Même un Kléber, d'après la culotte qui ment
Peut-être un peu, n'a pas dû manquer de ressource.

D'ailleurs l'homme au plus fier mammifère est égal ;
L'énormité de leur membre à tort nous étonne ;
Mais une heure stérile a sonné : le cheval

Et le boeuf ont bridé leurs ardeurs, et personne
N'osera plus dresser son orgueil génital
Dans les bosquets où grouille une enfance bouffonne


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Poem Submitted: Saturday, April 3, 2010



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