Arthur Rimbaud: "Bottom" and "Barbarian" (1886)
New Translations by Tom Baker
Reality being just too prickly for my illustrious self,--I was, nevertheless, transformed into a great, grey-blue carrion bird, a vulture soaring to the ceiling.--Yet, dragging one wing through the black shadows of nightfall.
At the foot of the canopy, supporting her adored jewels and physical perfection, I was a great black bear become; violet gums and fur of grief, turned grey; my flashing eyes of silver, like cut-glass.
Shadow-show bathed everything in a fish tank blaze.
Ah, sunrise! Morning gives combat to the heavens of the June sky.--Into an ass was I then transformed, bellowing blasts of grief, as I frolicked through fields, suburban Sabines flinging their figures upon my form.
Long after countries and creatures, seasons and days.
A raw meat flag flies, 'gainst the silken seas and the arctic flowers. (Those things are fantasies.)
Giving me relief of the heroic fanfares of yesterday--they still attack me, nevertheless, heart and mind; far removed from the assassins of old.
Oh! A raw meat flag flies, 'gainst the silken seas and the arctic flowers. (Those things are fantasies.)--Ecstasy! Live coals rain down hot through the hoarfrost--Delights! The fire and the wind pour in torrents, hurled at the black heart of the burned-over Earth, for the sake of us all!
--Oh world! (Far from old haunts and hearths, felt and heard!)
Sea spume, magic.-- and music, drifting ice, colliding with the stars! Oh world, float on!
There see I forming sweet tresses and country eyes!
White tears bubble forth, and the voice of woman rises up from the mouths of volcanoes and grottoes of ice...