The Best of Arthur Rimbaud Poetry


Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud (20 October 1854 – 10 November 1891) was a French poet. Born in Charleville, Ardennes, he produced his best known works while still in his late teens—Victor Hugo described him at the time as “an infant Shakespeare”—and gave up creative writing altogether before the age of 21. As part of the decadent movement, Rimbaud influenced modern literature, music and art. He was known to have been a libertine and a restless soul, traveling extensively on three continents before his death from cancer less than a month after his 37th birthday.

Rimbaud’s poetry is often seen as influential to the Symbolist, Dadaist and Surrealist movements, not only for its various themes, but also for its inventive use of form and language. French poet Paul Valéry stated that “all known literature is written in the language of common sense—except Rimbaud’s.”

A Winter Dream
In the winter, we shall travel in a little pink railway carriage
With blue cushions.
We shall be comfortable. A nest of mad kisses lies in wait
In each soft corner.

You will close your eyes, so as not to see, through the glass,
The evening shadows pulling faces.
Those snarling monsters, a population
Of black devils and black wolves.

Then you’ll feel your cheek scratched…
A little kiss, like a crazy spider,
Will run round your neck…

And you’ll say to me : “Find it !” bending your head
– And we’ll take a long time to find that creature
– Which travels a lot…

Everything seen…
The vision gleams in every air.
Everything had…
The far sound of cities, in the evening,
In sunlight, and always.
Everything known…
O Tumult! O Visions! These are the stops of life.

Departure in affection, and shining sounds.

Being Beauteous
Against a fall of snow, a Being Beauiful, and very tall.
Whistlings of death and circles of faint music
Make this adored body, swelling and trembling
Like a specter, rise…
Black and scarlet gashes burst in the gleaming flesh.
The true colors of life grow dark,
Shimmering and sperate
In the scaffolding, around the Vision.

Shiverings mutter and rise,
And the furious taste of these effects is charged
With deadly whistlings and the raucous music
That the world, far behind us, hurls at our mother of beauty…
She retreats, she rises up…
Oh! Our bones have put on new flesh, for love.

Oh ash-white face

Oh tousled hair

O crystal arms!

On this cannot I mean to destroy myself
In a swirling of trees and soft air!

Come, the Wines are off to the seaside,
and the waves by the million!
Look at wild bitter rolling from the mountain tops!
Let us reach, like good pilgrims, green-pillared Absinthe…

Myself: No more of these landscapes.
What is drunkenness, friends?
I had soon – rather, even – rot in the pond,
beneath the horrible scum, near the floating driftwood.

When you are seventeen you aren’t really serious.
– One fine evening, you’ve had enough of beer and lemonade,
And the rowdy cafes with their dazzling lights!
– You go walking beneath the green lime trees of the promenade.

The lime trees smell good on fine evenings in June!
The air is so soft sometimes, you close your eyelids;
The wind, full of sounds, – the town’s not far away –
Carries odours of vines, and odours of beer…

– Then you see a very tiny rag
Of dark blue, framed by a small branch,
Pierced by an unlucky star which is melting away
With soft little shivers, small, perfectly white…

June night! Seventeen! – You let yourself get drunk.
The sap is champagne and goes straight to your head…
You are wandering; you feel a kiss on your lips
Which quivers there like something small and alive…

Your mad heart goes Crusoeing through all the romances,
– When, under the light of a pale street lamp,
Passes a young girl with charming little airs,
In the shadow of her father’s terrifying stiff collar…

And because you strike her as absurdly naif,
As she trots along in her little ankle boots,
She turns, wide awake, with a brisk movement…
And then cavatinas die on your lips…

You’re in love. Taken until the month of August.
You’re in love – Your sonnets make Her laugh.
All your friends disappear, you are not quite the thing.
– Then your adored one, one evening, condescends to write to you…!

That evening,… – you go back again to the dazzling cafes,
You ask for beer or for lemonade…
– You are not really serious when you are seventeen
And there are green lime trees on the promenade…

So long as the blade has not
Cut off that brain,
That white, green and fatty parcel,
Whose steam is never fresh,

(Ah! He, should cut off his
Nose, his lips, his ears,
His belly! And abandon

But no, truly,I believe that so long as
The blade to his head,
And the stone to his side,
And the flame to his guts

Have not done execution, the tiresome
Child, the so stupid animal,
Must never for an instant cease
To cheat and betray

And like a Rocky Mountain cat;
To make all places stink!
But still when he dies, O my God!
May there rise up some prayer!

Shiraz Hassan
Shiraz Hassan is a magazine reporter and feature writer for Sunday Magazine in Lahore, Pakistan, where he covers social issues, art and culture. At the magazine, he has published more than 400 features related to social problems, culture and 'show biz.' Shiraz has also worked as a news editor at the radio network “MAST FM 103” in Lahore.

He writes about culture and heritage of South Asia, particularly Pakistan. He advocates rich culture of this land and tries to explore facts. Recently he was given an award from the Federal Ministry of Population Welfare for his article on population crises. Writers Guild also awarded him a Medal of excellence for his work.
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