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Devotion (Dévotion)
by Arthur Rimbaud (1872-75); translated by Helen Rootham (1938).

To my sister Louise Vanæn de Voringham—her blue mobcap shaped like the North Sea. For the shipwrecked.

To my sister Leonie d'Ashby. Baou!—the buzzing, evil-smelling summer grass. For the fever which attacks mothers and children.

To Lulu—demon—who has retained a missish and imperfectly educated taste in oratories. For men!

To Madame X . . .

To the youth I was once. To this holy old man, hermitage, or mission.

To the spirit of the poor. To a clerical dignitary.

Also to every cult which finds itself in such places and in such circumstances as are proper to our aspirations of the moment, or to our own special vice.

This evening, Devotion to Cicerto of the tall mirrors, fat as a fish and glowing like the ten months of the red night (her heart is of amber and musk)—for my one prayer, mute as these regions of night; my prayer which precedes acts of prowess more violent than this polar chaos.

Devotion at any cost and in any shape, even in my metaphysical wanderings. Be even more then.


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AUTHOR: Arthur Rimbaud (1872-75); translated by Helen Rootham (1938).
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