Boston Review
CURRENT ISSUE
table of contents
FEATURES
new democracy forum
new fiction forum
poetry
fiction
film
archives
ABOUT US
masthead
mission
rave reviews
contests
writers’ guidelines
internships
advertising
SERVICES
bookstore locator
literary links
subscribe
RSS feed

Search bostonreview.net
Search the Web
Google


 

Les Corbeaux

Lord, when a chill is in the meadows,
When in exhausted hamlets
Perpetual prayer-times are silent...
Down on defoliated tracks of wildness
Let them fall from vast fuming skies—
The beloved, delicious crows.

Bizarre shock-troops that rasp and shriek,
Biting winds attack your rookeries!
Along jaundiced rivers,
Over roads of decrepit calvaries,
Over ditches and pits—
Scatter and surge for victory!

In your thousands, swallow the fields of France
Where the past days’ dead lie sleeping.
Twist in your sharp winter throng,
Just so—no wanderer will fail to notice,
None will forget; call us to pay our respects,
O funereal black bird of the elect.

Yet, saints of the firmament,
Haunt the heights of the oak tree,
Lost mast absorbed by twilight’s mystery,
Abandon the warblers of May to those who inhabit
Imprisoning grass in dark forest greenery,
Those chained by defeat without destiny.   


—Arthur Rimbaud

(translated from the French by John Kinsella)

Arthur Rimbaud was born in provincial France in 1854. The enfant terrible of the symbolist movement, he wrote some of the 19th century’s most visionary and influential poetry and prose before abandoning writing at the age of 19. He died in Marseilles in 1891.

John Kinsella is author of more than 20 books of poetry, most recently Peripheral Light: Selected and New Poems. He teaches at Kenyon College and is a fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge University.

Originally published in the December 2003/January 2004 issue of Boston Review



Copyright Boston Review, 1993–2006. All rights reserved. Please do not reproduce without permission.

 | home | new democracy forum | fiction, film, poetry | archives | masthead | subscribe |