Working People

O that warm February morning!
The untimely south came
to stir up our absurd paupers' memories,
our young distress.

Henrika had on a brown
and white checked cotton skirt
which must have been worn in the last century,
a bonnet with ribbons and a silk scarf.

It was much sadder than any mourning.
We were taking a stroll in the suburbs.
The weather was overcast
and that wind from the south
excited all the evil odors of the desolate
garden and the dried fields.

It did not seem to weary my wife as it did me.
In a puddle left by the rains of the preceding month,
on a fairly high path,
she called my attention to some very little fishes.

The city with its smoke and its factory noises
followed us far out along the roads.
O other world, habituation
blessed by sky and shade!

The south brought black miserable memories
of my childhood, my summer despairs,
the horrible quantity of strength
and of knowledge that fate has always kept from me.

No! we will not spend the summer
in this avaricious country
where we shall never be anything
but affianced orphans.
I want this hardened arm
to stop dragging _a cherished image._

by Arthur Rimbaud

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