Arthur Rimbaud: “Evening Prayer”

Evening Prayer

I live life like an angel in a barber’s chair,
gripping the grooves on my fat mug of ale,
a pipe between my teeth, beneath stale, foul air,
bloated with smoke like a puffed-out sail.

Like warm shit smoldering in pigeon coops,
a thousand dreams burn softly in my soul.
My heart is as sad as a sap tree that stoops,
bleeding its deep colors of yellow and gold.

And then, once I’ve swallowed my visions with care,
some forty drinks in me, I proceed to get up
and unleash the bitter need I no longer can bear:

And sweetly as Jesus when he drained his last cup,
I piss toward the dark skies in an arc through the air,
and as if to approve, morning flowers open up.

Arthur Rimbaud

Translated from French by Paul Weinfield, © 2013

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