I miss my inner Rimbaud. Once upon a time, I used to be shocking. I was a Libertine. I took risks in Love. I channeled Light, no matter the cost. I have, mostly, from exhaustion, severed that part of my soul, dismembered — as it were — myself, quelled as best I can those desires, those urges, those energies, so that I might find peace.
But . . . I miss . . .
Arthur Rimbaud died in Paris, November 10, 1891. His poems have influenced everyone from the Dadaists to Patti Smith.
He defied boundaries. He explored possibilities. He succumbed to the spiritual exhaustion of both and so left his art behind in an effort to quiet and simplify. He died after having amputated part of his soul in that way, as well as his leg, finally, bone cancer consumed him. The great love of his life was fellow poet, Paul Verlaine…
…but their incandescent, explosive attraction to one another — finally consumptive, depleting, and eviscerative — was nearly fatal. He wrote this when he was 16:
C’est un trou de verdure, où chante une rivière
Accrochant follement aux herbes des haillons
D’argent; où le soleil, de la montagne fière,
Luit: c’est un petit val qui mousse de rayons.
Un soldat jeune, bouche ouverte, tête nue,
Et la nuque baignant dans le frais cresson bleu,
Dort; il est étendu dans l’herbe, sous la nue,
Pâle dans son lit vert où la lumière pleut.
Les pieds dans les glaïeuls, il dort. Souriant comme
Sourirait un enfant malade, il fait un somme:
Nature, berce-le chaudement: il a froid.
Les parfums ne font pas frissonner sa narine;
Il dort dans le soleil, la main sur sa poitrine,
Tranquille. Il a deux trous rouges au côté droit.
Two red holes in his side. The wounded, waiting to be comforted. I miss my inner Rimbaud. I think, today, rather than the linen changing and laundry and packing for my trip tomorrow, I must go and do something shocking. Paging Rimbaud! (Or, Verlaine.)