Side Show

Very sturdy rogues.
Several have exploited your worlds.
With no needs, and in no hurry
to make use of their brilliant faculties
and their knowledge of your conveniences.

What ripe men! Eyes vacant like the summer night,
red and black, tricolored, steel studded with gold stars;
faces distorted, leaden, blanched, ablaze;
burlesque hoarsenesses! The cruel strut of flashy finery!

Some are young,-- how would they look on Cherubim?--
endowed with terrifying voices and some dangerous resources.
They are sent buggering in the town, tricked out with nauseating _luxury._
O the most violent Paradise of the furious grimace!

Not to be compared with your Fakirs and other theatrical buffooneries.
In improvised costumes like something out of a bad dream,
they enact heroic romances of brigands and of demigods,
more inspiriting than history or religions have ever been.

Chinese, Hottentots, gypsies, simpletons, hyenas, Molochs,
old dementias, sinister demons, they combine popular maternal
turns with bestial poses and caresses.
They would interpret new plays, 'romantic' songs.

Master jugglers, they transform place and persons
and have recourse to magnetic comedy.
Eyes flame, blood sings, bones swell, tears and red trickles flow,
Their clowning or their terror lasts a minute or entire months.
I alone have the key to this savage side show.

by Arthur Rimbaud

Comments (8)

It deserves to be poem of the day. Vivid visual images, like a camera moving around. M.Walker.
Arthur Rimbaud describes so beautifully this degradation of the divine creation. The thought of God is existent naturally within the mind of the human being who starts to pervert it in this world which is compared with a ''violent Paradise of the furious grimace.'' This change needs time. ''Some are young, - how would they look on Cherubim? '' -while getting older ''Not to be compared with your Fakirs and other theatrical buffooneries. '' Not only the face ages but the voice deteriorates too.'' In this poem, the poet describes an aggressive society looking like a landscape of cognitive deterioration regarding the divine. This degradation is very fast. The youngers are ''endowed with terrifying voices and some dangerous resources. '' The needed sacrifices become ''heroic romances.'' God's will is for us to be made holy by the sacrifice. Because of this kind of cognitive deterioration, the human beings don't understand the real sense of the sacrifice any longer, but they understand their deterioration and their aggressivity. Then, they make an effort to rectify this state of being. While making this change, they become clowns.''Their clowning or their terror lasts a minute or entire months. '' The last line is a relevant conclusion. ''I alone have the key to this savage side show.'' An ideal world, which is populated only by the unaltered, holy human beings becomes a fiction. It is about ''the god of the ungodly: not being accepted by the mind but banished by the heart, unrecognized by the conscience, and neglected in the life. This last is the guiltiest degradation of the Divine''- The Degradation of the Divine by W. Clarkson. He that knoweth his Lord's will and doeth it not shall be beaten with many stripes.
This poet had a lot of antagonism toward his subject- -ouch. Makes me wonder about his life experiences. Since he did not live into a ripe old age I wonder if the vitriol he expressed here described his whole life and thereby shortened it. He did have a stylistic way with words- I think I will read more by him.
Happy 162nd birthday Arthur.
Stunning realities portrayed in a marvelous style. Thanks for sharing this poem here.
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