Friday, May 20, 2011

Dead Apocalyptic Poets: Arthur Rimbaud

We have not been poetical for some time.

I am not all that terribly familiar with him.  I had picked this up some time ago, but had not used it.  Of course, as with all such things,  since that time I have run into a number of mentions of him. 

I gather that he was a rather odd bird.  His poetry would give Ann Rice a run for the money in terms of over the top ghoulishness.  Rimbaud was writing this poetry primarily before the age of twenty-one.  He is said to be slightly more sane then Edgar Allan Poe.

While the red-stained mouths of machine guns ring
Across the infinite expanse of day;
While red or green, before their posturing King,
The massed battalions break and melt away;

And while a monstrous frenzy runs a course
That makes of a thousand men a smoking pile-
Poor fools! - dead, in summer, in the grass,
On Nature's breast, who meant these men to smile;

There is a God, who smiles upon us through
The gleam of gold, the incense-laden air,
Who drowses in a cloud of murmured prayer,

And only wakes when weeping mothers bow
Themselves in anguish, wrapped in old black shawls-
And their last small coin into his coffer falls.

The Sleeper in the Valley
It is a green hollow where a stream gurgles,
Crazily catching silver rags of itself on the grasses;
Where the sun shines from the proud mountain:
It is a little valley bubbling over with light.
A young soldier, open-mouthed, bare-headed,
With the nape of his neck bathed in cool blue cresses,
Sleeps; he is stretched out on the grass, under the sky,
Pale on his green bed where the light falls like rain.
His feet in the yellow flags, he lies sleeping. Smiling as
A sick child might smile, he is having a nap:
Cradle him warmly, Nature: he is cold.
No odour makes his nostrils quiver;
He sleeps in the sun, his hand on his breast
At peace. There are two red holes in his right side.

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