After the Flood

I wanted to share a poem … one of my most favourites. Arthur Rimbaud’sAfter the Flood“. Below is a translation. Rimbaud is sometimes ‘difficult’ so take your time reading it. It is, imho, brilliant.

After the Flood

Just as soon as the idea of the flood had subsided, a hare stopped amid the clover and the swaying flower-bells and said his prayer to the rainbow through the spider’s web.

Oh! The precious gems that began to conceal themselves – the flowers that were already opening their eyes to the world.

In the dirt of the high street stalls were set up, and boats were hauled down to the sea as it rose up in tiers as it does in old prints.

Blood flowed at Bluebeard’s – in the slaughter houses – circuses, where the seal of god turned the windows deadly pale. Blood flowed. Milk flowed.

The beavers built. Coffee glasses steamed in small bars. In the big glass-paned house, still dripping with water, the children in mourning stared at the marvellous images.

A door slammed, and on the village square, the boy swung his arms, in complicity with the weathervanes and steeplecocks all about him, under the sparkle of a sudden downpour.

Madame installed a piano in the Alps. Mass and first communion were celebrated at the hundred thousand altars in the cathedral.

The caravans set off. And the Hotel Splendid was erected in the icy chaos of the polar night.

From that time on, the moon could hear jackles howling through deserts of thyme – and clod-hopping idylls grumbling in the orchard. Next in the violent clump of leafing trees, Eucharis told me it was spring.

Surge up, pond – foam, roll over the bridge, and over the woods; – black palls and organs – thunder and lightning; – rise and roll above us; – waters and sorrows, rise and bring back the floods.

For since they went away, – Ah, the precious gems burying themselves, and the opened flowers!

Life weighs heavily! And the Queen, the witch who lights her fire in an earthen cauldron, will never consent to tell us what she knows, and what we do not.

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