|Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud [Literary Kicks]|
As from a green zinc coffin, a woman’s
Head with brown hair heavily pomaded
Emerges slowly and stupidly from an old bathtub,
With bald patches rather badly hidden;
Then the fat gray neck, broad shoulder-blades
Sticking out; a short back which curves in and bulges,
Then the roundness of the buttocks seems to take off;
The fat under the skin appears in slabs:
The spine is a bit red; and the whole thing has a smell
Strangely horrible; you notice especially
Odd details you’d have to see with a magnifying glass . . .
The buttocks bear two engraved words: CLARA VENUS;
— And that whole body moves and extends its broad rump
Hideously beautiful with an ulcer on the anus.
Night in June! Seventeen years old! — We are overcome by it all.
The sap is champagne and goes to our head . . .
We talked a lot and feel a kiss on our lips
Trembling there like a small insect . . .
Our wild heart moves through novels like Robinsoe Crusoe,
— When, in the light of a pale street lamp,
A girl goes by attractive and charming
Under the shadow of her father’s terrible collar . . .
A Dream for Winter
To ††† Her
In the winter, we will leave in a small pink railway carriage
With blue cushions.
We will be comfortable. A nest of mad kisses lies
In each soft corner.
You will close your eyes, in order not to see, through the glass,
The evening shadows making faces,
Those snarling monstrosities, a populace
Of black demons and black wolves.
Then you will feel your cheek scratched . . .
A little kiss, like a mad spider,
Will run around your neck . . .
And you will say to me: “Get it!”, as you bend your neck;
— And we will take a long time to find that creature
— Which travels a great deal . . .
And the Mother, closing the exercise book,
Went off satisfied and very proud, without seeing,
In the blue eyes and under his brow covered with bumps
The soul of her child given over to repugnance.
All day he sweated obedience; very
Intelligent; yet dark twitchings, a few traits,
Seemed to testify in him to bitter hypocrisy.
In the shadow of the corridors with their moldy hangings,
Passing through he stuck out his tongue, his two fists
In his groin, and in his closed eyes saw spots.
A door opened on to evening: by the lamp
You saw him up there moaning on the stairway,
Under a flood of daylight falling from the roof. In summer
Especially, overcome, stupefied he was bent
On shutting himself up in the coolness of the outhouse:
There he meditated, peacefully, opening his nostrils.
When washed from the day’s odors, the small garden
Behind the house, in winter, lit up with the moon,
As he lay at the foot of a wall, buried in clay,
And rubbed his dizzy eyes to bring about visions,
He listened to the mangy espaliers as they seemed to swarm.
Pity! only those children were his friends
Who, sickly, bare-headed, with eyes weeping on their cheeks,
Hiding thin fingers yellow and black with mud
Under worn-out clothes stinking of diarrhea and old,
Talked with the gentleness of idiots!
And if she caught him in actions of filthy pity,
His mother was horrified. The deep tenderness
Of the child forced itself on her surprise.
That was appropriate. She had the blue glance, — that lies!
At seven, he wrote novels about life
In the great desert, where exiled Freedom shines,
Forests, suns, rios, plains! — He was helped
With illustrated newspapers where, blushing, he saw
Spanish and Italian girls laugh.
When the daughter of the workers next door came,
— Eight years old, — brown eyes, wild, in a calico dress,
The little brute, and when in a corner,
She had jumped on his back, shaking her long hair,
And he was under her, he bit her buttocks,
For she never wore panties;
— And, bruised by her fists and heels,
Took back the taste of her flesh to his room.
He feared the grey December Sundays,
When, his hair greased, on a mahogany stool,
He read a Bible with cabbage-green edges.
Dreams oppressed him every night in his small room.
He did not love God; but the men whom, in the brown evening,
Swarthy, in jackets, he saw going home to their quarters,
Where town criers, with three drum rolls
Make the crowds laugh and roar over edicts.
— He dreamed of an amorous pasture, where shining
Swells, natural perfumes, golden puberties
Move calmly and take flight!
And as he especially savored dark things,
When, in his bare room with closed shutters,
High and blue, sourly covered with humidity,
He read his ceaselessly meditated novel,
Full of heavy ocherous skies and soaked forests,
Of fresh flowers opened in the astral woods,
Dizziness, crumblings, routs and pity!
— While the noise of the neighborhood went on
Down below — alone, and lying on pieces of unbleached
Canvas, and violently announcing a sail!
The Hands of Jeanne-Marie
Jeanne-Marie has strong hands,
Dark hands the summer tanned,
Hands pale like dead hands.
— Are they the hands of Juana?
Did they get their dark cream color
On pools of voluptuousness?
Have they dipped into moons
In ponds of serenity?
Have they drunk from barbaric skies,
Calm on charming knees?
Have they rolled cigars
Or traded in diamonds?
On the burning feet of Madonnas
Have they tossed golden flowers?
It is the black blood of belladonnas
That bursts and sleeps in their palms.
Are they hands driving the diptera
With which the blueness of dawn
Buzzes, toward the nectars?
Hands decanting poisons?
Oh! what Dream has held them
An extraordinary dream of Asias,
Of Khenghavars or Zions?
— These hands have not sold oranges,
Nor turned brown at the feet of the gods;
These hands have not washed the diapers
Of heavy babies without eyes.
(They are not hands of a cousin
Or of working women with large foreheads
Burned, in woods stinking of a factory,
By a sun drunk on tar)
They are benders of backbones
Hands that do no harm
More fatal than machines,
Stronger than a horse!
Stirring like furnaces,
And shaking off all their tremblings
Their flesh sings Marseillaises
And never Eleisons!
(They would strangle your necks, o evil
Women, they would crush your hands
Noblewomen, your infamous hands
Full of white and carmine
The beauty of those loving hands
Turns the heads of ewes!
On their savory finger-joints
The great sun places a ruby!)
A stain of populace
Turns them brown like a breast of yesterday:
The back of these Hands are the places
Where every proud Rebel kissed them!
They have paled, marvelous,
Under the great sun full of love
On the bronze of machine-guns,
Throughout insurgent Paris!
Ah! sometimes, o sacred Hands,
At your wrists, Hands where tremble our
Never sobered lips,
Cries out a chain of clear links!
And it is a strange Tremor
In our beings, when, at times
They want to remove your sunburn, Hands of an angel,
By making your fingers bleed!
I live seated, like an angel in the hands of a barber,
In my fist a strongly fluted mug,
My stomach and neck curved, a Gambier pipe
In my teeth, under the air swollen with impalpable veils of smoke.
Like the warm excrement of an old pigeonhouse,
A Thousand Dreams gently burn inside me:
And at moments my sad heart is like sap-wood
Which the young dark gold of its sweating covers with blood.
Then, when I have carefully swallowed my dreams,
I turn, having drunk thirty or forty mugs,
And collect myself, to relieve the bitter need:
Sweetly as the Lord of the cedar and of hyssops,
I piss toward the dark skies very high and very far,
With the consent of the large heliotropes.
With the consent of the large heliotropes.