In his late teenage years, Arthur Rimbaud apparently ceased writing, and changes I believe Arthur Rimbaud was a very talented and promising poet, since the. Arthur Rimbaud and the Mystic Way. Dana Wilde. 7 Studies in Hermeticism nall tND:fiVirt\ Z New Series Vol. 14, No. 2 Cauda Pavonist Fall ow completing. Project Gutenberg · 59, free ebooks · 3 by Arthur Rimbaud. Poésies complètes, by Arthur Rimbaud. No cover available. Download; Bibrec.
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ARTHUR RIMBAUD -r.: X COMPLETE WORKS arthur rimbaud. COMPLETE WORK.S Translated from the French by Paul Schmidt HARPERPERENNIALe. Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud was a French poet. Born in Charleville Arthur Rimbaud was born into the provincial middle class of Charleville (now part. ARTHUR RIMBAUD ○ OPHELIA. I. On the calm black water where the stars sleep. White Ophelia floats like a great lily,. Floats so slowly, lain in her long veils .
What do I care if I get promoted, what good does it do to get promoted, none, right? Your shoulderblades are twisted back, My masterpieces! The lindens smell lovely on a night in June! They cradle in ill-fitting, twisted coats Funny kids who cry, their faces turning blue. I left the maternal mansion and went to Paris! Now, these prose poems of Rim baud's have a number of formal characteristics, but the major one seems to concern the arrangement of syntactic units on 'the page. Instead, the "Ame ser:
If we could pierce that height, what would we find? Of worlds wandering in abhorred vastness? And all those worlds, within the airy heavensDo they move to the sound of some eternal voice? Can he say: I believe? And is the voice of thought more than mere dream? If Man was born so late, if life is short, Whence does he come? Do the depths of Ocean hide A nest of fetuses, of Embryos, A teeming Vortex from whose depths Nature Will summon him, a living creature, To love among roses, to grow in fields of grain?
We cannot hope to know!
We are weighed down With ignorance and narrow fantasies! Men are monkeys, dropped from maternal wombs; Our faded reason hides the Absolute! We wish to look: Doubt is our punishment! Doubt, somber bird, blinds us with his wing..
And the horizon fades, in an eternal flight! The skies have opened! Mystery is dead Before Man, erect, who folds his strong arms In the endless splendor of abundant nature! He sings It is Redemption! It is Love! IV o glory of the flesh!
Rebirth of Love, 0 bright triumphant dawn When at their feet both Gods and Heroes kneel: White Kallipyge and her immortal son Stand smiling in a snowy shower of roses, As women and flowers spring up beneath their feet! In a golden car wound with black vines, Lysios comes through the tawny Phrygian fields, Drawn by amorous tigers stained with wine; Along blue streams he turns the mosses red. He slowly turns his vacant gaze toward her; She lays her bloodless, burning cheek upon The brow of Zeus; her eyes begin to close; She dies in his divine embrace, and the waves Leave golden foam upon her floating hair.
And in the watery beams of the summer moon, Naked, dreaming, her gilded pallor stained By the heavy flood of her long blue hair, In a dark grove of mosses stuck with stars, The Dryad stares at silent, empty skies Yet in the sacred grove, that threatening shade, They stand in majesty, those marble forms: The Gods, whose eyes the ivy tries to hide The Gods stand watching Man and the unending World.
I will not say a word, I will not think a thing, But an infinite love will set my heart awhirl, And I will wander far, like a wild vagabond, Throughout Nature-happy as if I had a girl. A thousand years has sad Ophelia gone Glimmering on the water, a phantom f.
The wind kisses her breasts and shakes Her long veils lying softly on the stream; The shivering willows weep upon her cheeks; Across her dreaming brows the rushes lean. The wrinkled water lilies round her sigh; And once-she wakes a nest of sleeping things And hears the tiny sound of frightened wings; Mysterious music falls from the starry sky.
II o pale Ophelia, beautiful as snow! Yes, die, child, die, and drift away to sea! For from the peaks of Norway cold winds blow And whisper low of bitter liberty; For a breath that moved your long heavy hair Brought strange sounds to your wandering thoughts; Your heart heard Nature singing everywhere, In the sighs of trees and the whispering of night.
For the voice of the seas, endless and immense, Breaks your young breast, too human and too sweet; For on an April morning a pale young prince, Poor lunatic, sat wordless at your feet!
What a dream, poor young Thing! Beelzebub jerks ropes about the necks Of small black dolls who squirm against the sky; With slaps, with whacks and cuffs and kicks He makes them dance an antique roundelay! Excited jumping jacks, they join thin arms; Black organ lofts, their fretwork breasts That once beat fast at beauteous damsels' charms Now clack together in a perverse embrace. Hurrah the jolly dancers, whose guts are gone! About the narrow planks they jerk and prance!
Beelzebub roars the rasping fiddles' song! They cannot tell the battle from the dance! Hard heels, that never wear out shoes! They've all put off their overcoat of skin; What's left beneath is hardly worth excuseTheir skulls are frail and white beneath the rain.
And the breeze blows for the skeletons' ball! The gibbet groans like an organ of iron; In violet furests the wolves wail; The distant sky flames with hell's own fires! Oh, shake me these dark commanders down! Who slyly rake through broken fingertips Love's rosary across their pale ribs: This is no monastery, you dead men! And there in the midst of the danse macabre One wild skeleton leaps in the scarlet clouds, Stung with madness like a rearing horse With the rope pulled stiff above his head.
He tightens bony fingers on his cracking knees With squeals that make a mock of dead men's groans, And, like a puppet flopping in the breeze, Whirls in the dance to the sound of clacking bones. On old one-arm, black scaffolding, The hanged men dance; The devil's skinny advocates, Dead soldiers' bones. They watch his white arms beat The dough, and feel the heat Of the bright stoves.
They hear the Baker softly hum And hear a crackling sound come From the baking loaves.
They are transfixed; they do not dare Disturb the fragrant glowing air, Warm as a mother's breast. For a rich man's holiday he bakes Golden rolls and pies and cakesA sugary feast! And then beneath the smoky roof They hear a song from a savory loaf -Just like a bird!
The warm window steams and glows, And they squat in their ragged clothes, Their senses blurredThey even think that they're rich, tooPoor Baby Jesuses in a row As the snow falls; They stick their little noses in Through the grating, moaning something Through the holes X In a daze, saying prayers And bending toward the lights Of paradise, So hard they split their pants, And their shirttails dance In a wind like ice. With all his buttons undone And the list of indulgences he'd won Unraveling on his breast, Tartufe went white!
He prayed and confessed in an awful fright! But the man ran away with all his clothesUgh! Tartufe stood naked from head to toes!
Perched on my enormous easy chair, Half nude, she clasped her hands. Her feet trembled on the floor, As soft as they could be. I watched as a ray of pale light, Trapped in the tree outside, Danced from her mouth To her breast, like a fly on a flower. I kissed her delicate ankles. She had a soft, brusque laugh That broke into shining crystalsA pretty little laugh. Her feet ducked under her chemise; "Will you please stop it! Her eyes trembled beneath my lips; They closed at my touch.
Her head went back; she cried: That's too much! On a nice night, the hell with beer and lemonade And the cafe and the noisy atmosphere! You walk beneath the linden trees on the promenade.
The lindens smell lovely on a night in June! The air is. The breeze is full of sounds-they come from the toWllAnd the scent of beer, and the vine, and the rose II You look up and see a little scrap of sky, Dark blue and far off iIi the night, Stuck with a lopsided star that drifts by With little shivers, very small and white A night in June!
Getting drunk is fun. Sap like champagne knocks your head awry Your mind drifts; a kiss rises to your lips And flutters like a little butterfly III Your heart Crusoes madly through novels, anywhere, When through the pale pool beneath a street light, 35 A girl goes by with the most charming air, In the grim shadow of her futher's dark coat.
And since she finds you marvelously naive, While her little heels keep tapping along She turns, with a quick bright look And on your lips, despairing, dies your song. IV You are in love. Rented out till fall. You arc in love. Poetic fires ignite you. Your friends laugh; they won't talk to you at all. Then one night, the goddess deigns to write you!
That night Nobody's serious when they're seventeen, And there are linden trees on the promenade. In the middle of the garden a military band is Playing, helmets jiggling to "Lady of Spain"; By the benches in front dawdle the dandies; The Notary dangles from his own watch chain.
On the green benches, clumps of retired grocers Poke at the sand with their knob-top canes, Gravely talk of treaties, of war, move closer, Take snuff from little boxes, then begin: They know exactly what I'm after, and their eyes On me can't hide the things I know they want. I don't say anything: I just keep staring At the white skin on their necks, their tousled hair, At what's beneath the silly dresses they're wearing That show their backs and leave their shoulders bare.
Pretty soon I see a shoe, then a stocking I put it all together: And my brutal wishes bite their little lips The age of hopes and fantasies, as they say, and so I have begun, only a child, but touched by the finger of the Muse excuse me if this is banal to write down my dearest beliefs, my hopes, my feelings, all the things that poets do-this is what I call springtime. Because if I send you some of these verses-through the kindness of the publisher M. Lemerre-it's because I love all poets, all true Parnassians-since the poet is a Parnassian, in love with ideal beauty That's why.
This sounds stupid, I know In two years, perhaps in a year, I will be in Paris. Don't make too much of a face when you read these verses; you would drive me mad with hope and joy, cher maitre, if you were to have them make a little place among the Parnassians for my piece "Credo in Unam" I could get into the last issue of Le Parnsssej it would be a Credo for poets!
Oh, what madness! Are they not of the poet's creed? I am unknown; what does that matter? All poets are brothers. These verses believe; they love; they hope; that is alL Cher maltre, help me: My life as a child, the open road in every weather; I was unnaturally abstinent, more detached than the best of beggars, proud to have no country, no friends Official outings were frightening; a school acquaintance describes: Rimbaud brought up the parade at a prescribed distance.
Whatever confusions drove him out, the idea of poetry was clearly involved in running away. More than anything, it was a perfect excuse for writing a poem. The first of these flights was to Paris, in August , and ended in Mazas prison on a vagrancy charge. A scared fifteen-year-old was released by his sympathetic rhetoric professor, Georges Izambard, who had become Arthur's friend and literary mentor, providing him with the kind of books that Mme.
Rimbaud disapproved of-Victor Hugo's Les Miserahles, for one. Izambard took the boy home with him to Douai for a few weeks before returning him to his mother's. He treated him kindly, as an intellectual equal-and so Rimbaud's next flight was in his direction, north toward Belgium.
It was a pilgrimage of delight, to judge by the poems it occasioned. For Rimbaud, the vision of happiness was forever connected with Nature, and the women who accompanied him in fantasy were loving and nourishing-his Muse, the smiling waitresses of country inns, the girls who waved from wagons passing on the road.
The final point of his journey was a visit to a friend of lzambard in Brussels, Paul Demeny, a published poet, the author of Les Glaneuses. He functions briefly in Rimbaud's career as a recipient of letters-for like Izambard, like Banville, like Verlaine later, he was a poet officially, someone who had preceded Rimbaud into that world where love dwelled with happiness.
From Brussels Rimbaud went to stay for a while with Izambard at Douai. From there he was sent back to his mother's-under police escort as she demanded. Brown and bloody as the dregs of wine, His lips part in laughter beneath a leaf. Then, like a squirrel, he turns and disappears, But his laughter lingers still along the leaves, And, shaken as a startled chaffinch soars, The Golden Kiss of the Woods is left in peace.
The dark old wood, like old folks, seems kind; Its drawers are open, and its odors soak The darkness with the scent of strong old wine. Its drawers are full, a final resting place For scented, yellowed linens, scraps of clothes For wives or children, worn and faded bows, Grandmothers' collars made offigured lace; There you will find old medals, locks of gray Or yellow hair, and portraits, and a dried bouquet Whose perfume mingles with the smell of fruit.
X 45 - 0 sideboard of old, you know a great deal more And could tell us your tales, yet you stand mute As we slowly open your old dark door.
Content and still, I ate and listened to the clock. Just then the kitchen door flew open wide And the servant-girl came in, I don't know whyThe top of her dress undone, her hair pulled back. And while she put a finger to her cheek, All rosy-white and velvet, like a peach, And made a face just like a five-year-old, To make things easier she shifted the dishes; And then she said-and I knew she wanted kisses!
I felt good, stretched out my legs under A table and looked at the silly tapestries Hanging on the wall. And what a wonder, When a girl with enormous tits and shining eyes -Hell, a kiss would never scare her off! Laughed as she brought me the bread and butter And a funcy platter of ham, half-coldHam, all pink and white, it had a garlic Taste--alld filled my mug with beer, whose froth A ray of fading sunlight turned to gold.
I followed you, Muse! Beneath your spell, Oh, la, la, what glorious loves I dreamed! I tore my shirt; I threw away my tie. I slept out most of the time. The stars above me rustled through the sky. I heard them on the roadsides where I stopped Those fine September nights, when the dew dropped On my face and I licked it to get dnmk.
Nice and warm. With a nest of creepy kisses Just for us two. You shut your eyes and won't look out the window Where shadows lurk: Hordes of black wolves and black demons and nightmares Inhabit the dark. And then in panic suddenly you feel A little kiss, like a scared spider, crawl Across your cheek You turn to me to help you find the beast, And of course I promise to do my best, Ifit takes all week Just the two ofus together, Okay? We could go Through the fresh and pleasant weather In the cool glow 48 --'k Of the blue morning, washed in The wine of day When all the love-struck forest Quivers, bleeds From each branch; clear drops tremble, Bright buds blow, Everything opens and vibrates; Ail things grow.
You msh about, and alfulfa Stains your white gown, As the shadows beneath your eyelids Fade in the clear dawn. Madly in love with the country, You sprinkle about Like shining champagne bubbles Your crazy laugh: Laughing at me, and 1'd be brutal And I'd grab your hair Like this-how beautiful, Oh! Laughing most of aU, little dummy, At me with you! Then, like the girl in the fairy tale You'd start to faint; You'd tell me to carry you With half a wink I'd carry you quivering Beneath a tree; A bird nearby is whistling: You know Our woods smell of springtime, And the sun Powders with gold their vision Vermilion and green.
At night? We'll get back to the village Just at dusk, And smell the odor of milking On the evening air, And the warm smell of stables Full of manure, Of a calm rhythm of breathing And of broad backs Pale in the light of a lantern; And there below A cow drops dung, dignified And slow. Grandmother's eyeglasses sparkle As she peers In her prayerbook; a tin bucket Of beer Foams in front oflong pipes That happily expel Clouds of smoke; the flapping faces, Smoking still, Shove in ham by forkfuls: Lots, then more; The fire lights the cupboards And beds on the floor.
Dark, on the edge of her chair, An arrogant profileAn old woman spinning By the fire. What things we'll see, my darling, In those farms, By those bright fires sparkling In dark windowpanes! Then, tiny, hidden under A lilac bush, fresh And shady: I love you! Come for A beautiful walk! You will come, won't you? What's more And be late for work?
The cops who guard our virginal frontier. With pipes and knives and clubs-but without fearThey take their German Shepherds out in pairs To catch the simple smuggler unawares. They chuckle in the drooling atmosphere.
They bring furest deities their modern laws. They round up wandering Fausts and Diavolos. Let's put those bundles down! They hate to let "Delinquents" passGod help you, when the Customs grabs your ass! I left the maternal mansion and went to Paris! I did it on the 29th of August. I was arrested as I got off the train for not having any money and owing thirteen francs on my ticket, and taken to the police station, and now I am in prison at Mazas waiting for trial!
I depend on you as on my mother; you've always been like a brother to me. I ask you immediately for the help you once promised. I wrote to my mother, to the State attorney, to the chief of police in Charlevil1e; if you don't hear anything from me by Wednesday before the train that goes from Douai to Paris, take that train, come here to claim me by letter, or go to the attorney, to intercede, to vouch for me, and pay my debt! Do what you can, and when you get this letter, you write too, I order you to, yes, write to my poor mother 5 Quai de la Madelaine, Charlev.
Write me too; do everything! I love you like a brother, I will love you like a father. I don't know if!
I have a safe-conduct pass-I am infinitely sorry not to be able to say gOodbye to you-especially to you. Very, very sincerely; all the best.
I will write you. Will you write me? Won't you? My mother took me back, and here I am My mother won't send me back to school until next January. Well, I kept my promise. I am dying, rotting in platitudes, nastiness, and grayness. What do you expect, I persist stubbornly in worshipping free freedom and I should have left again today, I could have: I had new clothes on, I could have sold my watch, and then hurrah for freedom!
I stayed! I didn't promise that! But I'll do it to be worthy of your affection. You said I would. And I will. The gratitude I have fOr you I can't express today any more than the other day. I shall prove it to you. I would do something for you that I'd have to die to do. I give you my word. I've still got a lot of things to say.
That "heartless" A. Nobody talks about it. I gave your message to M. Deverriere, and if there's more to do, I'll do it.
Occasional sniping. The mind of the populace is an abominable itch of idiocy. You hear some real gems, believe me! It's a riot! But instead, nothing. I am well aware that I have always been of an inferior race. I cannot understand revolt. My race has never risen, except to plunder. An iron man in Berlin, an emperor of wax in Paris. WIld enthusiasm in France, among the bourgeois, for war. A silly French victory at Saarebruck-the Germans lost two officers and seventy men.
The Prince Imperial received his baptism of fire in the field with his proud papa, who cabled home: The soldiers of the Guard wept to see how calm he was The Germans kept advancing. And now, when Rimbaud's war with his mother had come to an impasse, that struggle exploded into an awesome metaphor for his boy's brain: It closed his school, mobilized his neighbors, dropped bombs in his streets. TIle Germans bombarded Mezieres, the town next door to Charleville, and almost buried his best friend Ernest Delahaye in the cellar of his house.
All that winter the Germans occupied Mczieres and Charleville. In January an armistice was signed, and in February Rimbaud ran away again. Once more to Paris, slipping through the German lines. He wandered through the streets of the city still under siege, while the frantic provisional government tried to arrange a peace treaty.
He was in Paris on the first of March, when the German armies entered the city to march down a deserted Champs-Elysees. And he was in Paris when the unloved children of the Motherland-the oppressed, the weak, the workers, the poor-rose in revolt against the new government, solidly bourgeois and reactionary, that was meeting at Versailles. The National Guard, the poor, workers, students!
Barricades rose in the streets; mobs wheeled about; palaces, buildings burned. The city prepared for revolutionary government, the Commune. Rimbaud returned to Charleville early in March. Images of the war, of Paris under siege, filled his head and his poetry.
Visions of workers and guardsmen on street barricades, of the "gasoline girls," the incendiaries, of flames; in Baudelairean phrases he described the occupied city. And now our newspapers praise you to the skies! Our Dear Old Daddy, glorious as God!
Below, the draftees, waking from their nap Beside a gilded tent and a great red gun, Get up politely. Pitou puts on his cap, And seeing his Chief, he cries with joy: A helmet appears-a sunrise out of place; But Boquillon, in blue, flat on his face, Heisting his ass, says: A soldier, very young, lies open-mouthed, A pillow made of ferns beneath his head, Asleep; stretched in the heavy undergrowth, Pale in his warm, green, sun-soaked bed.
His feet among the flowers, he sleeps. His smile Is like an infant's-gentle, without guile. Ah, Nature, keep him warm; he may catch cold. The humming insects don't disturb his rest; He sleeps in sunlight, one hand on his breast, At peace.
In his side there are two red holes. The pale man thinks about the Tuileries In flower He told himself: He feels worn out. They've caught him. Now what name trembles On his silent lips! What quick: No one will know: He sees again, perhaps, the man in the pince-nez And watches drifting from his lighted cigar, Like evenings at St.
Cloud, a thin blue haze. What bare-assed ecstasy! Guns and sabers glitter in parade, Bright-mouthed weapons pointing straight aheadIt's a treat fur them to beat their feet In the mud of a river running red! Never, never now will we move back From our barricades, our piles of stone; Beneath their clubs our blond skulls crack In a dawn that was meant for us alone. Their bombs and fires paint our garden red: Their beetle-faced rorces trample ours They are all great friends of the Grand True!
Their chief in his gladiolus bed blinks Back his tears, puts on a sorrowful look, Sniffs smoke-filled air, and winks. Bourgeois, bUg-eyed on their balconies, Shaking at the sound of breaking glass, Can hear trees falling on the boulevards And, far off, a shivering scarlet dash. Are these the hands oOuana? Were they dangled in dear streams To dissipate reflected moons?
Have they rolled cigars? Dealt in diamonds? At the feet of the Madonna Have they crumpled flowers of gold? With the black blood of belladonna Their glistening palms are filled. Hands that hunt auroral Beetles, bluenesses bumbling Over nectaries? Hands That pour out poison?
Ah, what dream seizes And convulses them? Some unimagined dream of Asias, Khenghavars or Sion? These are no orange-seiler's hands, Hands darkened as a god's disguise; These hands have never washed the clothes Of heavy children without eyes. These are not like the hands at home, Nor the hardened hands of girls who work In factories, whose fat faces burn In sunlight sick with oily smoke. These are the benders of backbones, Hands that have never done wrong, Hands fatal as machinery, Strong as a horse is strong!
They'll break your necks, you whores, Strangle you, daughters of night; Crush your hands, you countesses, Your hands painted red and white. The brilliance of these hands in love Dazzles the skulls of baby lambs!
At the joint of each rich knuckle The bright sun's ruby gleams! A stain, a splash of populace, Darkens them like yesterday'S breast; The back of these Hands is the place All your ardent Rebels have kissed!
Marvelously pale in the sun's Love-provoking light, they hauled The bronze barrels of machine guns Across Paris in revolt! And sometimes on these sacred Hands, Hands made fists, where our mouths remain Trembling, our intoxicated mouths, Sounds the bright clinking of a chain! And then how strange, you Angel-hands, That sudden shudder deep inside, When they wish to crush your fingers To drench your Hands in blood!
Pour from your trains! The fiery breath of the sky sweeps down Along boulevards barbarians have stained. Behold the Holy City, in the setting sun! Go on! Beware of buildings still on fire! Here are the quais, the boulevards, and here Are houses, beneath bright streaks of sky , That last night were stuck with stars of fire!
Board up the dying palaces, the empty halls; The ancient trembling daylight cools your eyes. Behold this rusty troop of wriggling souls: Your mad haggard faces and your wild cries! Hordes of bitches in heat gulp cataplasms; The scream of houses full of gold commands: Behold, the joyful night in inky spasms Descends upon the street. And then when mad blinding light stabs Through the dripping heap of orgy at your sides, Will you not slaver slowly, silent, still, Into your glasses, staring at empty distances?
Drink to the Empress and her cascading ass! Hear the sound of retching, of drunken yells! Hear burning nights recoil beneath this mass Of howling idiots, old men, perverted fools! Your stomachs melt with shame, 0 Conquerors! Open your nostrils, smell this maddening stench! Let poisons soak the channels of your throats!
Over your childish heads, lowering his folded hands, The Poet speaks: Cares for your souls, your bodies, poisons, rags? She will shake you off, rotten, wretched, foul,. When so many knives. Body galvanized for sufferings yet to come, You drink once more the bitter draught that saves!
Within your veins you feel the white wonns swarm; Within your perfect love a freezing finger moves! And the feeling isn't bad. The worms, the white worms Cannot pervert the Progress of your mouth, Nor the Stryx close up the eyes of Caryatids Whose tears of astral gold rain from the azure South. The Poet will gather the sobs of monstrous Criminals, The Convict's hate, the cries of the Accursed; The streams of his love will flay all womankind.
His poems will soar: Behold, thieves! Do your worst! Society, aU is restored: And though we shrink to see you thus laid waste, Though never thus before was a city Made abominable in Nature's face, The Poet speaks: Your task is lifted from you, Holy City! Stridencies resound in your trumpet of bronze. Armada dark with harsh cries, Your nests are tossed by icy winds!
Along the banks of yellowed ponds, On roads where crumbling crosses rise, In cold and gray and mournful weather Scatter, hover, dive together!
In flocks above the fields of France Where yesterday's dead men lie, Wheel across the winter sky; Recall our black inheritance! Let duty in your cry be heard, Mournful, black, uneasy bird. Yet in that oak, you saints of God, Swaying in the dying day, Leave the whistling birds of May For those who fuund, within that wood From which they will not come again, That every victory is vain. Thank you. Knowing nothing of what I ought to know, resolved to do nothing of what I ought to do, I am condemned; have always been, forever.
Well, tomorrow's another day. Since the 12th, I've been working in the office of the Progris deJ Ardennes: But I've padfied Shadow-mouth for a while. Yes, you are happy. I say so. For the rest, for today. I saw some new tides at Lemerre's: Lettre d'un Mobile breton. Colere d'un franc-tireur.
Vae 7Jutoribus. Poems by Felix Franck and by Emile Bergerat. A Siege de Paris, thick volume, by Claretie. Every bookstore is selling its book about the Siege, its News of the Siege,- the Siege by Sarcey is in its fourteenth edition; I saw endless outpourings of photographs and drawings concerning the siege-all as you can well imagine. The etchings of A. Marie, ks Vengeurs, les Faucheurs de ta Mort attracted much attention, and especially the cartoons of Draner and Faustin.
Such was literature-from the 25th of February to the lOth of March. Anyway, I'm probably not telling you anything you don't already know. In which case, let us turn our faces to the lances of the storm, and open our souls to the wisdom of the ancients.
And may Belgian literature bear us both beneath its arm. I was too lucky! One has the impression, reading between his lines, that Rimbaud was putting him on much of the time. And his recollections do have an element of hero worship in them that smacks of exaggeration. But the poems Rimbaud wrote in the spring of will make most any exaggeration believable. For this is the point they all come to, these adolescent rebels. Defiance of parental authority, rejection of religion, of social conventions-hair down to the shoulders, filthy clothes, smoking too much, shouting obscenities, dropping out of school.
Whether any specific incident in Rimbaud's life set off such a full-scale rebellion against convention is unclear, the strictures of his mother and his early docility were likely to have brought him to it sooner or later. Still, few adolescent rebellions have yielded such a harvest of vitriolic verse.
Nothing escapes him: God, the Church, the Family, the Nation, the town of Charleville, its citizenry and institutions and, above all, its women.
For the main burden of these poems is scatological-the furious boy scrawling "shit on God" on the sidewalks in front of the church is clearly their author. They are full of the bodily functions, of diseased flesh, of the filth and clutter of old age and poverty, of the equivocal role of woman and the image of the "monstrous whore. The details are sharp and clear. The origins of this theory of illuminism, of degradation in order to obtain elevation, of objectivity as the reward of total experience, are perhaps traceable; what is staggering, though, is to think that these ideas of perverting all the senses, of finding a method that will yield visions of the Unknown, of being "the one who will create God," occur in the mind of a pedantic country schoolboy.
And now all the tenacity, the rigorous purpose, the seriousness, and the strength of a sixteen-yearold boy are devoted to becoming "the great invalid, the great criminal, the great accursed-and the Supreme Scientist! Like steaming dung within an old dovecote A thousand Dreams within me softly bum: From time to time my heart is like some oak Whose blood runs golden where a branch is tom.
And then, when I have swallowed down my Dreams In thirty, forty mugs of beer, I tum To satisfY a need I can't ignore, And like the Lord of Hyssop and of Myrrh I piss into the skies, a soaring stream That consecrates a patch of flowering fern.
THE SITIERS Black with warts, picked with pox, eyelids all green, Their knobby fingers curled around their balls, Skulls smeared with nastinesses, obscene As the crud that grows on rotten walls; A kind of epileptic embrace screws Their skinny skeletons to the black bones Of their chairs; and there for days and days Their old feet wriggle on the rickety rungs.
And their Chairs take care of them; their asses Are worn, but the straw seats cup them like a palm, And the soul of suns gone by still bums In those strips of straw, those rotting grains. The Sitters gnaw their knees; green piano players, Their fingers move in rhythm beneath their chairs; They hear themselves splashing a sad barcarole, And their heads go floating off on waves of love.
Oh, don't get up! It's just a little flood They heave themselves in waves, snarling like wet cats; -Are they mad! Their shoulderblades unfold And their pants puff out over their fat butts.
You hear them bumping bald heads against the walls; They catch you walking down the long dark halls, And if you look, the buttons on their flies Watch you like a lot ofhungzy eyes! And they have these fast invisible hands That get you, and their eyes have a poisonous stare; You fuel like a beaten puppy dog, and You sweat, caught in that awful corridor!
They sit back down, fists drowned in dirty cuffs, Thinking of those who made them get up. In agitated lumps, from dawn to dusk, The goiters quiver in their nervous necks. A fit of sleep; they pull their eyeshades low; They fold their arms and dream of fucking chairs; 1bey dream of having baby chairs that grow In groups: Flowers of ink spurt commas in showers That hover above them, over their bent buds, Like dragonflies that buzz a bed of flowers And the prickle of straw makes their cocks hard.
He flaps about beneath his grayish sheets And then gets up and gropes to find his basin, Scared as an old man who's swallowed his teeth, Because he has his thick nightshirt to fasten Around his gut before he can proceed! He shivers and squats, with his toes tucked up Beneath him, shaking in sunshine that smears crackerYellow on windowpanes papered at the top; The old man's nose-it glows like scarlet lacquerSniffs the sunshine, like some fleshy polyp.
A tangle of banged-up furniture, deep In greasy rags, bulging like filthy bellies; Fanta. A sickening heat stifles the narrow room; The old man's brain is stuffed with scraps from junk heaps. He hears hairs growing deep in his damp skin, And sometimes burps, and rather gravely hiccups, And jolts the shaky stool he squats upon.. And at night the brightness of the moon's light, Dribbling on the curves of his ass, discloses A dark shadow that falls across a bright Pink snowdrift, pink as blushing summer roses An odd nose traces Venus through the night.
They cradle in ill-fitting, twisted coats Funny kids who cry, their faces turning blue. Sloppy breasts hang out: Outside-cold, and hunger, and horny husbands. It's all right here. Another hour, then nameless pain. Yet all around them, coughs, moans, whispers: Litde clusters of dewlapped women whine. Those beggars are there, and the epileptics We avoided yesterday as we crossed the road; And, nosing their way through ancient prayerbooks, The blind men dogs drag through our yards.
They dribble faith, and mouth a stupid, begging love, Reciting their endless complaint to JesusWho dreams in a yellow glow, far above Skinny failures and potbellied successes, Far from the meadike smells, the moldy clothes, The dark shuffling farce and its repulsive mime; -Then the litany flowers with elegant woes And mysteries flutter toward the sublime, And from out of the nave where sunlight dies, With stupid silks, sour smiles, and liver complaints, Come ladies from the Better Side ofTown-Jesus!
Trailing yellowed fingers in the holy water founts. Then, streaked and gray, a neck; a shoulderblade, A back-irregular, with indentationsThen round loins emerge, and slowly rise; The fat beneath the skin seems made of lead; The spine is somewhat reddish; then, a smell, Strangely horrible; we notice above all Some microscopic blemishes in front Horribly beautiful! A title: We ate boiled eggs And weed. One night you made me a poet, Ugly blond whore. Get between my legs, I'll whip you.
I puked up your greasy hair, Ugly black whore; You tried to unstring My guitar. Some of my dried-up spit, Ugly red whore, Still stinks in the cracks Of your breast. Go stick big blisters On your ugly tits!
Break the cracked bottles and jars Of my feelings; Come on! Be my ballerinas Just for a while! Your shoulderblades are twisted back, My masterpieces! Stick stars in your snatches and shake Them to bits! My love was sticky self-deceit And dirty games!
Dumb bunch of burnt-out stars, -Against the walls! Go back to God, croak in comers Like animals! Shining in private moonlight Like round-eyed sores, Flap your scabby kneecaps apart, My ugly whores!
Impetuous youth, dark virginal delights; His first intoxication spins in his head Like newborn seas, the tears of summer nights That tum forever in their diamond bed. The youth before the squalor of this world Feels his heart moved with a profound irePierced with the deep eternal wound, His Sister of Charity is all his desire. Slumbering blindness with enormous eyes, All our embrace is but a single question: For you, breast-bearer, have recourse to us; We cradle you, delightful grave affection.
Your hate, your set torpors, your weaknesses, your spite, All the brutalities you suffered long ago, You return to us, all without evil, 0 Night, In an excess of blood that every month will flow.
Woman, carried away, an instant appalls him With love, the call of life and song of actionThen the bitter Muse and burning Justice call him, To dismember him with their august obsession. Ceaselessly thirsting after splendors and calms, Forsaken by the relentless Sisters, he moans Softly for the knowledge that comes in open arms, And toward bright nature bears a forehead stained with blood.
But obscure alchemy and the occult sciences Repulse the wounded youth, dark scholar of his pride; A savage solitude rolls over him. Then beautiful still, disdainful of the grave, Let him believe in vast goals, Voyages and Dreams Endless and immense, across dark midnights of Truth, And summon you to soothe his soul and fevered limbs, o Sister of Charity, 0 mystery, 0 Death.
They take the child with them to an immense Window, where blue air bathes a flowery grove, And through his heavy hair, as the dew descends, Their terrible, enchanting fingers probe. He listens to their fearful slow breath vibrate, Flowering with honey and the hue of roses, Broken now and then with whispers, saliva Licked back on their lips, a longing for kisses.
He hears their lashes beat the still, sweet air; Their soft electric fingers never tireThrough his gray swoon, a crackling in his hairBeneath their royal nails the little lice expire.
Within him then surges the wine of Idleness, Like the sweet deluding harmonica's sigh; And the child can feel, beneath their slow caresses" Rising, falling, an endless desire to cry.
All day he sweat obedience; was very Bright; still, some black tics, some traits he had Seemed to foreshadow sour hypocrisies. In the dark halls, their mildewed paper peeling, He passed, stuck out his tongue, then pressed two fists In his crotch, and shut his eyes to see spots.
A door opened: There he could think, be calm, and sniff the air. Washed from the smells of day, the garden, in winter, Out behind the house, filled with moonlight; Stretched below a wall, and rolled in dirt, Squeezing his dazzled eyes to make visions come, He only heard the scruffy fruit trees grow.
A pity! The friends he had were puny kids, The ones with runny eyes that streaked their cheeks, Who hid thin yellow fingers, smeared with mud, Beneath old cast-off clothes that stank of shit; They used to talk like gentle idiots.
If she surprised him in these filthy friendships His mother grew afraid; the child's deep tenderness Took her astonishment to task. How good Her wide blue eyesbut they lie. Seven years old; he made up novels: And when, with brown eyes, wild, in calico, -She was eight-the workers' girl next door Played rough, jumped right on top of him In a corner, onto his back, and pulled his hair, And he was under her, he bit her ass Because she wore no panties underneath; Then, beaten by her, hit with fists and heels, He took the smell of her skin back to his room.
He hated pale December Sunday afternoons: With plastered hair, on a mahogany couch, He read the cabbage-colored pages of a Bible; Dreams oppressed him every night in bed. The darkest things in life could move him most; When in that empty room, the shutters closed, High and blue, with its bitter humid smell, He read his novel-always on his mindFull of heavy ocher skies and drowning forests, Flowers of flesh in starry woods uncurled, Catastrophe, vertigo, pity and disaster!
The stone always smells of the soil outside.
You see those piles of boulders that retain The solemn motion of the rutting countryside, Divide the ripening wheat from yellow lanes, Support blue plums in trees the sun had dried, Black knots of mulberries, and sticky vines. Those barns have stood untouched for centuries; Their dark interiors are cold and dank:.
The walls are hung with grotesque mysteriesOur Lady, or a martyr's bloody flanksStill, stinking stable flies and kitchen flies Devour old wax spilt on the sun-stained planks.
The girls would always go to church, content To hear themselves called bitches by the boys After Mass, or after vespers during Lent. The boys, who'll end up stationed overseas, Disturb decorum in the cafes they frequent With shouts, with dirty songs, and brand-new clothes. Yet the Pastor picked out holy pictures For youngsters; in his room on Saturday night He heard the distant dances; the strictures Of heaven crumble, his toes tap with delight As he reveled in Night's benedictionsNight, black pirate on a sea of golden light.
II Among the catechists the Priest recognized Not from the better part of town one child, An unknown litde girl, with large sad eyes And sallow skin. Her parents seemed poor, and old. Like whispering in the church, dark and high, She felt a shivering she could not still, And endless shivering: A shower of Latin lines, Green watery clouds, caress her fevered eyes, And stained with blood in heavenly designs, Great white linens fall across the skies!
For her virginity-present and to comeShe bites the ice of your Remission. Yet more than water lilies, more than sweet desserts, Your forgiveness is frigid, Queen of Sion! IV But Our Lady is only a lady in prayerbooks, And mystic exaltations sometimes faiL Then pictures grow dark, and bored looks Lacquer them; engravings grow dim; prints pale.
And then an immodest desire to peek Startles shining sky-blue dreams of the Good, Frantic to undo that celestial coat Whose linen hides the nakedness of God.
She tries, ah, still she tries, her soul distressed And her face in a pillow, stifling sobs, To prolong those streaks of aching tenderness, And drools The child can stand no more.
She turns upon Her back and pulls the curtains loose To feel the'freshness ofthe air pour in Beneath the sheet, onto her burning breast Her nose bled, And to enjoy in God, though weak and chaste, Her burgeoning love, she thirsted after night, When the heart, beneath the tender gaze Of heaven, falls and rises in delight; Night, Virgin Mother impalpable, who bathes All childish raptures in soft gray surcease; Thirsted after night, when a bleeding heart Releases stifled rebellion in peace.
Thus become both Victim and the child bride, Candle in hand, beneath her star she flees To the courtyard where a shirt still hung to dry, White ghost, and raises black ghosts in the trees. VI She passed her holy vigil in the outhouse. Around her small candle swirled the white air, Moving a wild vine with a purplish gloss That twisted through a wall in disrepair.
The skylight lit the courtyard; in the east The sky plated windows with red-gold streams Of light; the pavement smelled of watery bleach Beneath sulfurous walls that dripped dark dreams. VIII When she has knotted up her hysterias And sees through the dolors of happiness Her lover dream of white millions of Marys, The morning after love, then, in sadness: Turned your head, And taken your heart, your life, and your dreams; I am sick: Oh, lay me down among the Dead Whose thirst is quenched by dark nocturnal streams!
He filled me to the throat with sick: You kissed my hair, my hair as thick: Ab, you love your lust, "You Men! You litde think the woman most in love, Ruled by a conscience full of sordid terror, Is prostituted worse than any slave, And that all our love for you is error! I can never have understood your kisses: For my soul and body embraced by your flesh Crawled with the rotten kiss of Jesus! She will have made her bed in Your unsoiled Hate, And left true passion for an image of death, Christ!
God crucified, whose pallor feeds on women Nailed to the ground with shame and with migraine, Or dse thrown down upon their backs, in pain. You hanging there waiting for the roar of floods, For milk-white stars, and swarms of asteroids?
Come on in out of the rain! And prayFor a sheet on your mealy mouth to shut you up! If some lost traveler bumps into your grave, just say: Brother, move on, I'm crippled and I can't get up! Old Abraham! Big Pilgrim! Sniveler of psalms! Velvet glove! Watering Mount Olivet with tears! Heart among flowers; pious and oh, so sweet! Virtuous renown, Savior! Stupid, hot-eyed as a bitch in heat!
I'm the soul in agony! Rimbaud's re-arionship with Veriaine blos- distant "vous" has become the closer "tu," signifying somed and degenerateci ciuring this period, and his insis- elot'ing intensity and relation. The wrist by Verlaine at the nadir of tl-reir emotional relation- method, or vigil itself is holy: It was during this period, the summer of , tliat saintel,"30 and we are placed, through the poem, in Rim- he completed Une Saison en enfer, his sister claims to baud's inclusive vision of reality.
While the speaker's cheering early in the poem reflects Dark Night of the Soul a kind of joy of attainment, it has been achieved not by Une Saison is a record of his spiritual nightmare, and conventional spiritual toils ar. Before outlining this: Bays argues that two kinds ol po The seer poet never ach: The error, she says, promise, and elegance points to the paradoxical unity of consists of a misunderstanding about the components of tl're method and the experience, or further, of suffering consciousness.
She argues rhat thele are not only trvo a. The idea of this components. The errol of: Nous ar-ons foi 1e poison. Nous savors donner notre vie lather than outrvald tori'alc Here life, in the sense ror. Bays's discussion touches t-: The last sen- sorting-house between nature mvs A poe: Ti-e This failure-or even apparent far. Psycho- du noir, et je r'6cus. As the luminative state. The Dark Night is characterized by illuminations subsided, the sense of distance set in.
Bays's terms. In 6nervement. La morale est la fa:: In addition this FrL: Il OI'r': In London and Belgium in the summer of it his personal ego. In the emo- ]rad touched but, having plumbed his unconscious rather tional disorder of the moment, Rimbaud in ietters tried than his superconscious, could not sustain.
When they met in Brussels in Juiy, Rimbaud, ex- itis the persistent "I" t'hicli crits hir:. He i':. Tire "rnental and moral disorder" Underhiil describes: One rea-. Intelestingly, Rimbaud was reading Goethe's Fausl a leligiou,. R;ntbaud put during the summer of Particularly Although all mystics express a sense of abandonment and salient is Rimbaud's figurative analysis of his own weak- aloneness during the Dark Night, Rimbaud is particularll' ness and imperfection, and especially of the imperfec- isolated because of his nearly total alienation.
Where in "X"Iatin6e d'itresse" he ficulty Rimbaud has to grapple u'ith at this tnonrelt ;r. He chalts the a Torture ures' -'aB Finally, the last chapter rll: La nature pourrait s'ennuver' peut-etre! Prudhomme est n6 avec Ie Christ' Oeuures,, 41 est aussi brutal que 1a ba The well-inc'. In this sense il: He seizes the modern beiief in religion o. Underhitl ca1ls the play of nerv spiritual project. In this he exemplifies alienated, in- hope and hopelessnesi, llght and dark, presence and ab- dustrial humanity, and devises a u'ay of continuing on a ,.
Instead, he rledicates the. Lc,''e ls plaved out not only inter- '-. Poetrl' r'vas a method of living for Rimba"rcl l: But it was ulls. He says at the outset of social institution. Hels still a spirituai being. A Stud,u The see Poetry of Conterr,pi New Direcr: Garden City. Nothing stirred. A Stud,y i. Dutton, ; hereafter I cited, parenthetically. Suzanne Bernard. Editions Garniers FYdres, N,Iost of the translations are taken from Wallace Fowlie, translator.
Complete Works, Selected Letters Chicago: I will be a worker: Work now? Norv, I am degrading myself as much as pos- sible. It is a question of reaching the unknown by the derangement of ali the senses.
The sufferings are enor- mous, but one has to be strong, one has to be born a poet, and I know I am a poet. This is not at all my fault. It is rvrong to say: I think. One ought to sa1,': The first study of the man r.
But the soul nrust be made monstrous. I sa1'or-e 1r'. Terror came Arthur L. Poetry of Contemplation: Fowlie, I had been damned by the rainbow.
Hap- Modern Period Albany: State Univ. I and beauty Fowlie, I should have hell for ut1'arrger. Aren't there enough of us n'ho Iarly as a potentiaily pertinent: Caud,a Pat'o-": A-subtle, journal in , for some tir: S In order to n. Through the spirit one goes to God' What obligatory to situate Duchatlp's essentially amateurish heartbreaking misfortune!
Fowlie, ' kinJ of hLrmetic research in the quasi-intellectual milieu aa Trans. I am explaining Fowlie, documented by esoteric u-ritings demonstrably popular The spirit is authority' It wants me to be called Symbolist era to ca.
This is the explosion which detail, I do find that the poets of the Symbolist period, ever-r the art critics in France, commonly employed con- lights up my abyss from time to time Fowlie, ' - nt'Tturt. Fowlie, ventional alchemical imagery in order to make their var- ious artistic points.
The three magi, the heart, the soul, and site, a public library, fin-de-sidcle Paris inust have been a spirit Fowli e, Slaves, let us not curse life Fowlie' veritable hotbed of herneticism. Fi,n- de- Si6cle ically pursuing hermetic researches. As I reconstruct Hermetic and Alchemical Publications in the the icenario, immediately follorving his first knou'n flirta- Bibliothbque Sainte- Genevibve tion with specifically alchemical iconographl-, appearing in a painting called.
This appraisal is. I made my first bibliographic reconnaissa: N'ly second visit. Related Papers. The Dialectical Play of Presence and Absence. By Lynda D. By Yasser Aman. Term Essay Moving Between Cultures.