Nerval and Rimbaud

Gerard de Nerval. Awakening in the carriage.

This is what I saw –On the road the trees fleeing,

All intermingled, like a defeated army:

Underneath the ground swaying in the high wind

Like rolling waves of clod and paving-stone.

Among the green plains the steeples seemed to lead

Hamlets of plaster houses, tile-roofed,

Which trotted along like flocks

Of white sheep, marked in red on their backs.

And the drunken mountains tottered: the river,

Like a boa constrictor stretched over

The whole valley, darted out to wrap itself around them . . .

I was in the carriage, having just awoken!


Fresh Horses

You stop on the way, get out of the carriage,

And by chance pass between two houses

Horses standing stunned after the hard-driven journey,

Their eyes tired of seeing and their bodies benumbed.

And then suddenly you see a valley,

Humid, silent, and green, covered in lilacs, a stream

Murmuring between poplars –and very soon

The roar of the road is quite forgotten.

Lying in the grass you listen to yourself living,

Leisurely you get drunk on the scent of green hay,

Watching without a thought the sky overhead . . . then

Unfortunately a voice calls out, “All aboard, gentlemen!”


Arthur Rimbaud –Sensation

On blue summer evenings I shall go down the paths,

getting pricked by the corn, crushing the short grass:

in a dream I shall feel its coolness on my feet.

I shall let the wind bathe my bare head.

I shall not speak, I shall think about nothing:

but endless love will mount in my soul,

and I shall travel far, very far, like a gypsy,

through the countryside –as happy as if I were with a woman.


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