This week marked the birthday of poet Arthur Rimbaud (b. 20 October 1854).
In remembrance of his life and work, here are four superb poems by him…
Fairy: A Prose Poem
(trans. Helen Rootham)
At the birth of Helen were present the saps of beauty which flow in the untrodden shadows and in the still radiancy of the astral silence. The burning heat of summer was confided to songless birds, the indolence of summer to a barque made of griefs beyond price, moving through bays of dead loves and faded perfumes.
This was after the time of woodcutters singing to the sound of the torrent in the ruined forest; the tinkling of sheep-bells in the echoing valleys; the cries of the steppes.
For the childhood of Helen the thickets and the deep shadows trembled, the heart of the poor and the legends of heaven were stirred.
Her eyes are more lovely than all shining things; cool airs that pass move not so lightly as Helen dancing; more precious is she than the joy of perfect beauty, than the joy of the perfect hour.
from Wheels: An Anthology of Verse
C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com