Arthur Rimbaud

by P. G. Buckinx

“Sixteen natives carried the sick body of Harrar to the coast of Ethiopia”

We walk through the black foliage of the night,
white and soundless along the ravines.
Could it be that some time, silent and white,
we shall evaporate in this darkness
and everything that is now
or was once upon a time,
be absorbed in the black necromancy of the grass?
Who exiled us, and who struck us with
a sword of fire? We know not
whither we go, so white and silent,
this disastrous hour.
The wind whistles through the tall rushes:
Death shall slay you in the end,
and quietly rid your white limbs
of darkness and insanity.
When God stands effulgent among the stars.

Translated by David Cornel DeJony