A Selection From “A Season In Hell” by Arthur Rimbaud

by Kit Anderson

Foreign parts are out. I’ll head for the roads round here again, saddled with my vice – the vice that took painful root in my side when I grew up . . . it rakes the sky, batters me, flattens me, drags me on.

The dregs of innocence, the last scrap of reticence. It’s on record. I refuse to carry my loathings and betrayals into the world.

All right then. The slog, the backpack, the desert, tedium and anger.

Who shall I sign up with? Which brute shall I worship? What holy image shall I desecrate? Whose hearts shall I break? What lie shall I espouse? Whose blood shall I trample?

Better to steer clear of the law. – The hard life; pure, mindless drudgery – raise the coffin lid with a shrivelled hand, settle in and expire. That way no growing old, no risks run: terror is unknown to the French.

– Ah but I’m so desolate, I’ll dedicate my drive for perfection to the first divine image that happens along.

What self-denial! What consummate charity! Still stuck here, even so!

De profundis Domine, how foolish can you get?