We are steadily building a database of Poets for you to listen to and would be interested to hear from you if you have suggestions for others we might include in the site. You can let us know by visiting our Contact Us page. All of the poems on this website have been narrated by Gerald Cox, you can find out more about Gerald on the About Us page.

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Arthur Rimbaud

We currently have five poems by Arthur Rimbaud from a new translation. You can listen to them all one after the other using the playlist below or if you prefer you can click the links further down to read a specific poem whilst listening to it. 
Translated by R J Dent
Translation Copyright © R J Dent (2009)

Read and listen to At the Green Inn

After eight days, I had torn my boots
on countless stone paths. I entered Charleroi
and at the Green Inn I asked for toast
with butter and cold ham.

Happy, I stretched out my legs beneath
the green table and studied the unsubtle
wallpaper pattern – and stared at a waitress’s
erect nipples, visible through her dress.

No underwear, and not afraid of a kiss,
she brought my buttered toast and ham,
pink and white and scented with wild garlic,

on a patterned plate. She filled my glass
until I heard it drip. The sunlight shone
on its amber body and white frothy head.

Read and listen to Faun's Head

Among the leaves – greenery stained with gold,
quivering stamens, fiery vibrant flowers,
an ardent kiss within the tangled bower
in that vivid, exotic tapestry.

A startled faun peers out with its large eyes
and bites a crimson flower with its white teeth
now stained and bloody with the red-wine juice;
its laugh sounds and resounds beneath the trees.

Then squirrel-like, it turns and dashes off,
its laughter lingering in every leaf,
the bullfinches flutter, call nervously
until the golden wood regains its peace.

Read and listen to Hunger

If I have a taste,
It’s for earth and stones.
I always feast on air,
on rock, coal, iron.

My hunger circles,
A meadow of sounds
assuaged by the poison
of bindweed.

I eat broken pebbles,
old church stones,
flood-stranded rocks,
Bread sown in grey valleys.

The wolf howled under the leaves
spitting out beautiful feathers
from his feast of fowl:
like him, I am consumed.

Salad leaves, fruit
wait only to be picked;
but the hedge-spider
only eats violets.

Let me sleep! let me stir
on Solomon’s altars.
The balm spills over the rust,
and flows into the Qidron.

Finally, oh happiness, oh reason, I removed from the sky the azure which is black, and I lived as a gold spark of natural light. Joyfully, I used the most absurd and exaggerated forms of expression:

It has been found!
What? Eternity.
It is the sea, mixed
with the sun.

My eternal soul,
follow your dream
Despite the lonely night
And the scorching day.

So you free yourself
From human suffering,
From common impulses!
You fly on – free…

— On without hope
and with no orietur.
Science and patience,
torture is certain.

No more tomorrow,
satin embers,
your fierce passion
Is duty.

It has been found!
– What? — Eternity.
It is the sea, mixed
with the sun.

Read and listen to The Sleeper In the Valley

A small green valley where a river flows
and leaves bright silver strands upon the lush
grass; from the proud mountaintop the sun’s rays
bathe the green hollow in a golden light.

A very young soldier lies open-mouthed,
his bare head pillowed by blue watercress,
asleep; stretched out on the luxurious grass,
pale on his warm and green and sun-soaked bed.

His feet in clumps of flowers, he sleeps. His smile
is like a young child’s, gentle, without guile.
Nature, please keep him warm: he may grow cold.

The humming insects do not make him stir;
he sleeps in the sun, one hand on his chest.
He has two bright red holes in his right side.

Read and listen to Sonnet to an Anus

Dark and furrowed like a purple carnation
he sighs, modestly resting among the hairs still moist with love
that cover the gentle curve of sweet white cheeks
right to their heart.
Filaments like tears of milk
have wept beneath a cruel, cold wind
and dripped on small clots of red marl,
then vanished to where the slope called.
In dreams I’ve often kissed that core.
My soul, jealous of mortal intercourse,
made this wild, musky nest of sobs its home.
It is the pale olive and the sweet-sounding flute,
the tube from which celestial praline pours,
A female Promised Land rimmed round with dew.

Arthur Rimbaud- 1854 - 1891

Was a French poet known for his transgressive and surreal themes and for his influence on modern literature and arts, prefiguring surrealism. Born in Charleville, he started writing at a very young age and excelled as a student, but abandoned his formal education in his teenage years to run away to Paris amidst the Franco-Prussian War. During his late adolescence and early adulthood, he produced the bulk of his literary output. Rimbaud completely stopped writing literature at age 20 after assembling his last major work, Illuminations.

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