LE DORMEUR DU VALTHE SLEEPER IN THE VALE
Arthur Rimbaudtrans. Elsie Callander
C'est un trou de verdure où chante une rivière
Accrochant follement aux herbes des haillons
D'argent; où le soleil, de la montagne fière,
Luit: c’est un petit val qui mousse de rayons.

Un soldat jeune, bouche ouverte, tête nue,
Et la nuque baignant dans le frais cresson bleu,
Dort; il est étendu dans l'herbe, sous la nue,
Pâle dans son lit vert où la lumière pleut.

Les pieds dans les glaïeuls, il dort. Souriant comme
Sourirait un enfant malade, il fait un somme:
Nature, berce-le chaudement: il a froid.

Les parfums ne font pas frissonner sa narine;
Il dart dans le soleil, la main sur sa poitrine,
Tranquille. Il a deux trous rouges au côté droit.
In a green hollow with a lilting river
Wildly scattering silver tatters on the reeds,
Where, from the proud mountain peak, the sun
Glows: a little valley frothing with sunbeams.

A boy soldier, mouth open, head bare,
His neck bathed in the fresh blue cress,
Asleep; stretched out in the grass under the clouds,
Pale in his green bed on which light streams down.

His feet in the lilies, asleep. Smiling as
A sick child might smile, he is taking a nap:
Rock him warmly, mother earth: he is cold.

The sweet air brings no quiver to his nostrils;
He sleeps in the sun, his hand on his breast,
At peace. He has two red holes in his right side.

Click here 2 for another translation of this poem.

Trans. copyright © Elsie Callander 2003



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