30 Days of Poetry: Day 2 "Childhood" (section V) by Rimbaud, trans W. Fowlie


30 Days of Poetry: a Poet's Log Book of Daily Efforts in Poetry for National Poetry Month, Days 2



Today for poetry, I read some of Wallace Fowlie's translations of Rimbaud, from "Complete Works, Selected Letters." This is probably my most worn book of poems, after "Cultural Affairs in Boston." (Oh, yeah, and they're probably literary kin, I'd say, too, so that makes sense.)

For today's post, I'm just going to share section five of the long prose poem "Childhood." It resonated very much with me ten years ago when I first read it for a course I was taking about the Symbolists poems at UMaine, my alma mater. That and "First Communion" were the inspiration for the manuscript I began working on upon reading the Symbolists. I am now slowly but surely publishing bits and pieces of the book-in-progress, a decade after I started it. Mind you, I haven't been working constantly on this one book. There's about 8 new manuscripts that have been created in the interim. But this one is my first born, and therefore very special. (Wow, that was such a biased statement about first borns. Hahaha. Of course I woudl say that, being the eldest.)

Here is Section V from "Childhood"

Now hire for them the tomb, whitewashed with the lines of cement in bold relief--far underground.
I lean my elbows on the table, and the lamp lights brightly the newspapers I am fool enough to reread, and the absurd books.
At a tremendous distance above my subterranean room, houses grow like plants, and fogs gather. The mud is red or black. Monstrous city, endless night!
Not so high up are the sewers. At my side, nothing but the thickness of the globe. Perhaps there are its of azure and wells of fire. On those levels perhaps moons and comets, seas and fables meet.
In moments of depression I imagine sapphire and metal balls. I am master of silence. Why should the appearance of a cellar window turn pale at the corner of a ceiling.
As re-read this poems, I looked at my original observations from the first time I read them. I'm pleased at how astute they are. Sometimes, you look back at old comments and they're kind of embarrassing.  These were smart. Good work, 27 year old me.

I listened to a YouTube mix based off of "James Blake 'The Wilhelm Scream'" for when I read today.

Another thing that I love about reading poetry is how it make me think about the poems and poetry I want to write. I'm struggling with a section of the manuscript I mentioned above. Today's work made me think about working on that section in prose-poem form. And the music helped me think I should write about moments, visceral moments themselves, instead of about moments, for that section.

All 30 Days of Poetry entries are here.

Popular Posts