Selected Rimbaud Poems


Through blue summer nights I will pass along paths,
Pricked by wheat, trampling short grass:
Dreaming, I will feel coolness underfoot,
Will let breezes bathe my bare head.

Not a word, not a thought:
Boundless love will surge through my soul,
And I will wander far away, a vagabond
In Nature—as happily as with a woman.

to … Her

One winter, we’ll take a train, a little rose-colored car
Upholstered blue.
We’ll be so comfortable. A nest
Of wild kisses awaits in every cushioned corner.

You’ll close your eyes to shadows
Grimacing through windows
This belligerent nocturnal realm, inhabited
By black demons and black wolves.

Then you’ll feel a tickle on your cheek…
A little kiss like a crazed spider
Fleeing down your neck…

Bending your head backward, you’ll say: “Get it!”
—And we’ll take our time finding the beast
—While it roams…


In the brown dining room, brimming
With sweet scents of varnish and fruit,
I casually filled my plate with Belgian
Morsels and sank into an easy chair.

I listened to the clock as I ate, happy and still.
Then the kitchen door opened with a warm gust
—And a servant girl emerged, who knows why,
Her scarf loose, her hair temptingly arranged.

And while brushing a trembling finger across
The velvety pink peach of her cheek,
Her little-girl lips affected a pout

And she leaned toward me, adjusting my plates
Just so; then, casually, angling for a kiss—
Said softly, “My cheek is so cold. Here, feel…”


The star wept rose into the heart of your ears,
An infinity of white rolled between your nape and hips;
The sea spumed red onto your vermillion breasts,
And Man bled black onto your sovereign edge.


Is she a dancer…? In the first blue hours
Will she perish like wilting flowers…
Before the breathtaking vista, you feel
The burgeoning city’s blossoming breath!

It’s too beautiful! it’s too beautiful! But essential…
—For the Fisherwoman and the Pirate’s song,
And because the last masked sould still believed
In evening celebrations on a pure dark sea!


O swaying lilies! O silver enemas!
Contemptuous of work, contemptuous of famine!
Dawn fills you with love’s cleaning wash!
A heavenly sweetness butters your stamens!


Humanity tied the shoes of Progress, that enormous child.


Bluish roofs and white doors
Just like every nocturnal Sunday,

At the town’s noiseless edge
The Street is white; it’s night.

Angelic shutters shut
Strange houses on the street.

But, near a milemarker, look:
One the run, bad and chilled to the bone,

A black Cherub staggering around
After eating too many jujubes.

He poops: then poof! Disappears:
But, his fallen poop seems,

Beneath the hazy holy moon,
Like a delicate bog of dirty blood.


As a child, certain skies sharpened my sight: their varied temperaments refined my face. Phenomena awoke. —Now, the endless rise of moments and mathematical infinities chase me through a world where I suffer every civil success, respected by strange children and subjected to limitless affection. —I dream of war, of might and right, of utterly unforseeable logic.
It’s as simple as a musical phrase.