Arthur Rimbaud

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

The Customs Men - Poem by Arthur Rimbaud

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Those who say Gord Struth; those who say Swelp Me -
pensioned soldiers and sailors, the wreckage of Empire -
are nothing, nothing at all, compared with the warriors of Excise
who slash the blue frontiers with their great axe-blows.
Pipes in their teeth, blades in their hands, deep, unruffled,
when darkness noses at the woods like a cow's muzzle, off they go,
leading their dogs, to hold their nocturnal and terrible revels!
They report the bacchantes to the laws of today.
They clap hands on the shoulders of Fausts and of Devils:
'Now then, none of that, you old dodgers! Put those bundles down!'
And, when his serene highness accosts the young,
the Customs Man holds fast to all contraband charms!
The Inferno for Offenders whom his hand has frisked!


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Poem Submitted: Saturday, April 3, 2010



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