(20 October 1854 – 10 November 1891 / Charleville, Ardennes)

Parisian War Song

Spring is evidently here;
for the ascent of Thiers
and Picard from the green Estates lays
its splendours wide open! O May!

What delirious bare bums!
O Sevres Meudon, Bagneux, Asnieres,
listen now to the welcome arrivals
scattering springtime joys!

They have shakos, and sabers, and tom-toms,
and none of the old candleboxes;
and skiffs which have nev… nev..
are cutting the lake of bloodstained waters.

More than ever before, we roister,
as on to our ant-heaps come tumbling the yellow heads,
on these extraordinary dawns:
Theirs and Picards are Cupids;
and beheaders of sunflowers too;
they paint peaceful landscapes
(Corots) with insecticide (paraffin):
look how their tropes de-cockchafer the trees…
'They're familiars of the Great What's-his-name!...' -
And Favre, lying among the irisis,
blinks and weeps crocodile tears,
and sniffs his peppery sniff!
The Big City has hot cobblestones,
in spite of your showers of paraffin;
and decidedly we shall have to liven you up in your parts..
And the Rustics who take their ease in long squattings
will hear boughs breaking among the red rustlings.

by Arthur Rimbaud

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