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Arthur Rimbaud
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Nocturne Vulgaire (Nocturne vulgaire)
by Arthur Rimbaud (1872-75); translated by Helen Rootham (1938).

A breath of wind opens occasional gaps in the partitions—blurs the outlines of the weather-beaten roofs—disperses the landmarks of the homesteads—eclipses the windows.

Having found a footing on a gargoyle, I climbed down the creeper and got into this coach. Its period is clearly indicated by the convex glass, bulging panels, and badly shaped seats.

Funeral hearse of my sleep, shepherd's hut of my silly dreams, isolated, the vehicle rolls along on the grass of the obliterated high-road; and, in a flaw at the top of the right-hand window, pale moon-shapes, breasts and leaves are moving.
——Deep blues and greens invade the picture. The horses are unharnessed near a gravel pit.
——At this point someone will whistle for thunderstorms, Sodoms and Solmyas, and savage beasts and armies.

(Will this dream postilion and these dream horses drag me into a stifling forest, in order to plunge me up to the eyes in a silken stream?)

And, flogging the horses through splashing waters and spilled drinks, send up rolling along while dogs are barking. . . .
——A breath of wind disperses the landmarks of the homestead.


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