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Instigations: Arthur Rimbaud, Page 4
by Ezra Pound (1920).

— Je regardai, couleur de cire
Un petit rayon buissonnier
Papillonner, comme un sourire
Sur son beau sein, mouche au rosier.

— Je baisai ses fines chevilles.
Elle eut un long rire très mal
Qui s'égrenait en claires trilles,
Une risure de cristal. . . .

Les petits pieds sous la chemise
Se sauvèrent : "Veux-tu finir !"
— La première audace permise,
Le rire feignait de punir !

— Pauvrets palpitant sous ma lèvre,
Je baisai doucement ses yeux :
— Elle jeta sa tête mièvre
En arrière : "Oh ! c'est encor mieux ! . . ."

"Monsieur, j'ai deux mots à te dire. . . ."
— Je lui jetai le reste au sein
Dans un baiser, qui la fit rire
D'un bon rire qui voulait bien . . .

— Elle ètait fort déshabillée
Et de grands arbres indiscrets,
Aux vitres penchaient leur feuillée
Malinement, tout près, tout près.


The subject matter is older than Ovid, and how many poems has it led to every silliness, every vulgarity! One has no instant of doubt here, nor, I think, in any line of any poem of Rimbaud's. How much I might have learned from the printed page that I have learned slowly from actualities. Or perhaps we never do learn from the page; but are only capable of recognizing the page after we have learned from actuality.

I do not know whether or no Rimbaud "started" the furniture poetry with "Le Buffet"; it probably comes, most of it, from the beginning of Gautier's "Albertus." I cannot see that the "Bateau Ivre" rises above the general level of his work, though many people seem to know of this poem (and of the sonnet on the vowels) who do not know the rest of his work. Both of these poems are in Van Bever and Léautaud. I wonder in what other poet will we find such firmness of coloring and such certitude.


PAGE 4 OF 4.

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AUTHOR: Ezra Pound (1920).
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