Friday, 13 February 2009

The First Evening (Arthur Rimbaud)

This is my version of "La Première Soirée" (1870), translated from French. Rimbaud was only 16 years old when he wrote it, and it comes with a juvenile alert...(beep)(beep)(beep), but it's that time of year so I hope you don't mind.

The First Evening

She was practically undressed
And large trees craftily pressed
Their leaves against her windows
Curious and close, so close.

Sat in my large chair, half-naked
She clasped her hands upon her lap
And on the floor, she twitched with pleasure
Her little feet, so dainty and fair.

The colour of wax, I watched
As a flicker of sunlight danced
Across her smile and to her breast
Like a fly upon a rosebud.

I kissed her slender ankles;
She made a laugh, gentle and sharp,
Little tumbles of brightness
Tinkling like a chandelier.

The small feet vanished under her nightie
"Will you stop it!" she scolded,
The first bold move permitted
By the laugh that merely feigned to scorn.

Helpless trembles under my lips,
I kissed her eyes so gently.
She threw her fine head back,
"Ah! my, that's nicer still!

Listen! I have some words for you."
I plunged now to her breast
And in a kiss that made her laugh
True laughter that said yes,

She was practically undressed
And large trees blatantly pressed
Their leaves against her windows
Curious and close, so close.


  1., that was how it was back in 1870. Great poem he wrote at 16... very well translated by Okei. (I wonder what poems he was up to at 60...*grins*)

  2. Sweet 16!! He's trying his luck and she's rather enjoying it, but possibly just playing along.

    Well, from being a rather sweet and well-brought up juvenile 15-year old with top marks at school, he tried to run away to Paris, was imprisoned for a week for not having a train ticket, ran away from home to escape his angry mother, became a delinquent 17-year old, drinking and stealing, got to go to Paris because they were so impressed by his poetry, there became a gay bohemian with no morals, then an anarchist, then a soldier, then a deserter, then stopped writing poetry at the age of 21 and went to Africa and lived the high life, probably trading in slaves, and died of cancer at no poems at 60...sorry, Jach!

  3. Aaah... wow. Very expressive, I must say!

  4. :-))) That's what I call a
    "Century Gap" :-)))))