Les Illuminations  by Arthur Rimbaud

1  Fanfare
I alone hold the key to this savage parade.

2 Towns
These are towns! It is for the inhabitants of towns that these dream Alleghanies and Lebanons have been raised. Castles of crystal and wood move on rails and invisible pulleys. Old craters. encircled with colossal statues and palms of copper, roar melodiously in their fires . . .  Corteges of Queen Mabs in robes red and opaline, climb the ravines. Up there, their hoofs in the cascades and the briars, the stags give Diana suck. Bacchantes of the suburbs weep, and the moon burns and howls. Venus enters the caves of the blacksmiths and hermits. Groups of bell-towers sing aloud the ideas of the people. From castles built of bones proceeds unknown music … The paradise of the thunders bursts and falls. Savages dance unceasingly the Festival of the Night.

What kindly arms, what good hour, will restore to me those regions from which come my slumbers and  the least of my movements?

3a Phrase
I have hung ropes from bell-tower to bell-tower; garlands from window to window; golden chains from star to star – and I dance.

3b Antique
Oh, gracious son of Pan! Thine eyes – those precious globes – glance slowly; thy brow is crowned with little flowers and berries. Thy hollow cheeks are spotted with brown lees; thy tusks shine. Thy breast resembles a cithara; tinkling sounds run through thy blond arms. Thy heart beats in that womb where sleeps Hermaphrodite. Walk at night, softly moving this thigh, chis other thigh, this left leg.

4 Royalty
On a beautiful morning, in a country inhabited by a mild and gentle people, a man and woman of proud presence stood in the public square and cried aloud: “My friends,  it is my wish that she should be queen.” She laughed and trembled. To his friends he spoke of a revelation, of a test concluded. Swooningly they leaned one against the other.

And during one whole morning. whilst the crimson hangings were displayed on the houses, and during the whole afternoon, while they advanced cowards the palm gardens, they were indeed kings.

5 Marine
Chariots of silver and of copper
Prows of steel and of silver
Beat the foam,
Lift the stems of the brambles.
The screams of the barren parts
And the immense cracks of the ebb
Flow circularly towards the east,
Towards the pillars of the forest,
Towards the piles of the jetty,
Against whose angles are hurled whirlpools of light.

6 Interlude
I alone hold the key to this savage parade.

7 Being Beauteous
Against a background of snow is a beautiful Being of majestic stature. Death is all round her, and whistling, dying breaths, and circles of hollow music, cause this adored body to rise, to swell, and to tremble like a spectre. Scarlet and black wounds break out on the superb flesh. Colours which belong to life deepen, dance, and separate themselves around the vision, upon the path. Shudders rise and mutter; and the mad savour of all these things, heavy with dying groans and raucous music. is burled at our Mother of Beauty by the world far behind us. She recoils, she stands erect. Oh rapture! Our bones are covered anew with a body of love.

Ah! The pale ashen face, the mane-like hair, the arms of crystal. And there is the cannon upon which I must cast myself through the noise of trees and light winds.

8 Parade

These are very sturdy rogues. Many of them have made use of you and your like. Without wants, they are in no hurry to put into action their brilliant faculties and their experience of your consciences. What mature men! Here are sottish eyes out of a midsummer night’s dream – red, black, tricoloured; eyes of steel spotted with golden stars: deformed faces, leaden-hued, livid, enflamed; wanton hoarsenesses. They have the ungainly bearing of rag dolls. There are youths among them –

It is a violent Paradise of mad grimaces … Chinese, Hottentots, gypsies, simpletons, hyaenas, Molochs, old insanities, sinister demons, they alternate popular or maternal tricks with bestial poses and caresses. They can interpret modern plays or songs of a simple naivety at will. Master jugglers, they transform places and people, and make use of magnetic comedy.

I alone hold the key to this savage parade.

9 Departure
Sufficiently seen.- The vision has been met in all guises.
Sufficiently heard.- Rumours of the town at night, in the sunlight, at all times.
Sufficiently known.- Life’s decrees.
Oh Rumours! Oh Vision!
Departure in the midst of love and new rumours.

LUMEE’S DREAM  from p r i s m  by Ellen Reid

I had my favorite dream last night, the one about us.
In the dream, I’m a young golden maiden and your hair is dark like a crow.
We live in a stone sanctuary on top of a hill, outside our window is a great sea.
Dark, dark, dark, blue water.
Dark blue without a floor.
And I hear them outside waiting, wanting, and I know what I must do for you.

Careful not to wake you I hurl myself out of the window.
I am copper and feather slicing through the night, and no-one can see me.
Down I sink like they want me to.
I stay there all night.
At dawn they are done with me.
Exhausted, I pull my dripping body back to our window where I watch you sleep peacefully as I dry.