“What are they to us…” by Arthur Rimbaud

by Kit Anderson


What are they to us, my heart, the sheets of blood
And embers, the thousand murders, and the long cries
Of rage, the sobs from every hell, bringing down
Every order – and still the North Wind, over the
wreckage,

And total vengeance? Nothing!… Even so,
We want it! Industrialists, princes, senates,
Die! Down with power, justice, history!
This is our due. Blood! Blood! The golden flame!

Throw everything into war, vengeance, terror,
My soul! We must spin in those jaws! Republics
Of the known world, wither! Emperors
Out! Regiments, settlers, nations, out! out! out!

Who’ll Stir up the whirlwinds of frenzied fire
If not us and those we call our brothers? Partners
In Romance, our turn has come, we’ll revel in it.
We shall never toil, O waves of fire!

Europe, Asia, America, disappear!
Everything has fallen to our march of revenge –
Cities and hinterlands! – We will be crushed!
Volcanoes will explode! And the ocean stricken…

Oh, my friends! My heart, I know they’re brothers:
Dark strangers, if we once got started! Let’s go! Go!
I can’t! I’m beginning to tremble, the old earth
Is on me – I am more and more yours – the earth melts.

It’s an illusion. I’m here. I’m still here.

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