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The Seekers of Lice (Les Chercheuses de poux)
by Arthur Rimbaud (1871); translated by Jethro Bithell (1912).

When the child's forehead, full of torments red,
Implores the swarm of white dreams hovering dim,
Two elder sisters take him from his bed,
Sisters with silvery nails and fingers slim,

And seat him near a window opened wide,
Where tangled flowers are flooded with blue air;
Their terrible and delicate fingers glide,
Full of enchantment, through his heavy hair.

He hears their timid breath, and, flowering it,
Long vegetal and rosy honies sing,
But broken by a whistling sometimes, spit
Sucked on the lip, kiss of imagining.

He hears their black lids beating; and their mild,
Electric fingers, in the scented breath
Of silence that in greyness folds the child,
On royal nails crack little lice to death.

And in him mounts the wine of idlenesses,
Harmonica that well might rave but sighs;
And in his heart, in tact with the caresses,
A ceaseless wish of weeping starts and dies.

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AUTHOR: Arthur Rimbaud (1871); translated by Jethro Bithell (1912).
TITLE OF WEBPAGE: PoeticSpace:Rimbaud:Poems:LesChercheusesdepoux:Page2
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