Arthur Rimbaud

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

The Runaways/ Les Effares - Poem by Arthur Rimbaud

Dark against the snow and fog,
At the big lit-up vent,
Their butts in a huddle,
Five urchins, kneeling - wretched! -
Watch the baker making
Loaves of heavy blond bread.

They see the strong white arm knead
It and shove the raw dough
Into the oven's bright hole.

They hear the good bread baking,
The baker with a fat smile
Growling an old ditty.

They crouch there, not one budging,
At the red grating's breath
Just as warm as a breast.

When, shaped like buttery tarts
For some midnight party,
The bread is brought on out,

When, under smoke-stained beams,
The fragrant crusts are singing
Along with the crickets,

When life breathes out from that warm hole,
Their souls are so enraptured
Under their ragged clothes,

They feel such lively bliss, those
Poor frostbitten Jesuses,
That they all gather close

Gluing their pink little snouts
To the grating, mumbling
Such nonsense round about,

All foolish, at their prayers,
Hunkering toward that light
From heaven bright and fair,

So hard they split their pants,
And their shirt-tails flutter
In the winds of winter.


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Poem Submitted: Saturday, April 3, 2010



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