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Childhood V (Enfance V)
by Arthur Rimbaud (1872-75); translated by Helen Rootham (1938).

Finally, sing the praises of this white-washed tomb, with its bands of cement in relief—deep under the earth.

I stir with my elbows on the table, the lamp throws a bright light on these journals and uninteresting books. What an idiot I am to reread them!

Far, far above my subterranean drawing-room the houses are taking root, the fogs are gathering. The mud is red or black. Monstrous town, unending night!

Not so high up are the sewers. Round about me, nothing but the density of the globe. Perhaps gulfs of azure, wells of fire? Perhaps it is on these planes that moons and comets, seas and fables, meet each other.

In my hours of bitterness I imagine balls of sapphire, of metal. I am master of the silence. Why is there a patch of palest light in the corner of the vaulted roof, as though from an air-shaft?


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