Monday, May 18, 2009

Arthur Rimbaud (1)

" ... In [Arthur Rimbaud's] Illuminations there is a symbolical poem called "Royauté", and it describes how a man, one day, cried to all those who he met, as he walked through the town, that he was King and that the woman by his side was his Queen. To all who would listen he recounted the story of his trials and their end, and of the revelations which he had received. For one whole day the man and the woman were in fact King and Queen because they believed this to be true..."
Taken from Enid Starkie's biography of Arthur Rimbaud.

There he goes... It's 3am in the night. He is walking unsteadily on the cobblestone streets of Paris, a ghostly figure in the fog. The stench from the Seine seems to permeate everything. Rimbaud in the absinthe aftermath of a Verlaine encounter, suddenly stumbles and falls. And there lying on the wet and dirty side street, he closes his eyes and has a vision pure and beautiful and his lips move and the words flow effortlessly from his mouth...:


Un beau matin, chez un peuple fort doux, un homme et une femme superbes criaient sur la place publique : "Mes amis, je veux qu'elle soit reine !" "Je veux être reine !" Elle riait et tremblait. Il parlait aux amis de révélation, d'épreuve terminée. Ils se pâmaient l'un contre l'autre.

En effet ils furent rois toute une matinée où les tentures carminées se relevèrent sur les maisons, et tout l'après-midi, où ils s'avancèrent du côté des jardins de palmes."

He stops but the voice carries on in echo, coming back to him, bouncing off the wall and deflecting on the pavement. It transfoms, it mutates, it moves backwards and forwards, it transcends the present and leaps into the future and the words come back to him as in a song and in a different language...

I will be king
And you
You will be queen
Though nothing will
Drive them away
We can beat them
Just for one day
We can be Heroes
Just for one day..."

"Heroes" by David Bowie

Listen to :
"Heroes-Helden" by David Bowie


  1. At my wedding ceremony I read this short piece by Rimbaud. Just as I concluded, a video was played, with "'Heroes'" as the backing track. I guess we are of like minds (or I am not very original).

    We also showed "The Origin of Love" from the film Hedwig and the Angry Inch. If you don't know it, you should check it out.


  2. Thank you Bobby for your kind comments. I will definitely check-out "The Origin Of Love". Thanks for the tip.