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

The Rooks

Lord, when the meadowland is cold,
and when in the downcast hamlets the long Angeluses are silent..
down on Nature barren of flowers let
them sweep from the wide skies, the dear delightful rooks.

Strange army with your stern cries,
the cold winds are assaulting your nests!
You - along yellowed rivers, over the roads with their old Calvarys,
over ditches, over holes - disperse! And rally!

In your thousands, over the fields of France
where the day before yesterday's dead are sleeping,
wheel in the wintertime, won't you,
so that each traveler may remember!

Be, then, the one who calls men to duty,
O funeral black bird of ours!
But, ye saints of the sky,
at the oak tree top, the masthead lost in the enchanted twilight,
leave alone the warblers of May, for the sake of those whom,
in the depths of the wood,
in the undergrowth from which there is no escaping,
defeat without a future has enslaved.

by Arthur Rimbaud

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