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

The Seekers Of Lice

When the child's forehead, full of red torments,
Implores the white swarm of indistinct dreams,
There come near his bed two tall charming sisters
With slim fingers that have silvery nails.
They seat the child in front of a wide open
Window where the blue air bathes a mass of flowers,
And in his heavy hair where the dew falls,
Move their delicate, fearful and enticing fingers.
He listens to the singing of their apprehensive breath
Which smells of long rosy plant honey,
And which at times a hiss interrupts, saliva
Caught on the lip or desire for kisses.
He hears their black eyelashes beating
in the perfumed Silence;
and their gentle electric fingers
Make in his half-drunken indolence the death of the little lice
Crackle under their royal nails.
Then the wine of Sloth rises in him,
The sigh of an harmonica which could bring on delerium;
The child feels, according to the slowness of the caresses,
Surging in him and dying continuously a desire to cry.

by Arthur Rimbaud

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