Arthur Rimbaud


A black, E white, I red, U green, O blue: vowels,
I shall tell, one day, of your mysterious origins:
A, black velvety jacket of brilliant flies
which buzz around cruel smells,

Gulfs of shadow; E, whiteness of vapours and of tents,
lances of proud glaciers, white kings, shivers of cow-parsley;
I, purples, spat blood, smile of beautiful lips
in anger or in the raptures of penitence;

U, waves, divine shudderings of viridian seas,
the peace of pastures dotted with animals, the peace of the furrows
which alchemy prints on broad studious foreheads;

O, sublime Trumpet full of strange piercing sounds,
silences crossed by [Worlds and by Angels]:
O the Omega! the violet ray of [His] Eyes!

. . .


A noir, E blanc, I rouge, U vert, O bleu: voyelles,
Je dirai quelque jour vos naissances latentes:
A, noir corset velu des mouches éclatantes
Qui bombinent autour des puanteurs cruelles,

Golfes d'ombre; E, candeurs des vapeurs et des tentes,
Lances des glaciers fiers, rois blancs, frissons d'ombelles;
I, pourpres, sang craché, rire des lèvres belles
Dans la colère ou les ivresses pénitentes;

U, cycles, vibrements divins des mers virides,
Paix des pâtis semés d'animaux, paix des rides
Que l'alchimie imprime aux grands fronts studieux;

O, suprême Clairon plein des strideurs étranges,
Silences traversés des [Mondes et des Anges]:
O l'Oméga, rayon violet de [Ses] Yeux!

. . .

Arthur Rimbaud, (1854-1891) the anarchic visionary, precocious boy-poet of French symbolism, wrote some of the most remarkable poetry and prose of the 19th century. Especially in 'A Season in Hell' (1873), Rimbaud is the poet of crystallized attitudes, of flash-frozen poses. His highly suggestive, subtle work drew on subconscious sources, and its form was correspondingly supple and novel. Rimbaud has been identified as one of the creators of free verse because of the rhythmic experiments in his prose poems 'Illuminations' (1886). Paul Claudel, saw Rimbaud as "a mystic in the savage state". *Synesthesia: his Sonnet of the 'Vowels' (1871) in which each vowel is assigned a color, helped popularize synesthesia.

|| Museums of the Mind ||