HONTESHAME
Arthur Rimbaudprose trans. Oliver Bernard
Tant que la lame n'aura
Pas coupé cette cervelle,
Ce paquet blanc, vert et gras,
À vapeur jamais nouvelle,

(Ah!  Lui, devrait couper son
Nez, sa lèvre, ses oreilles,
Son ventre! et faire abandon
De ses jambes! ô merveille!)

Mais, non; vrai, je crois que tant
Que pour sa tête la lame,
Que les cailloux pour son flanc,
Que pour ses boyaux la flamme,

N'auront pas agi, l'enfant
Gêneur, la si sotte bête,
Ne doit cesser un instant
De ruser et d'être traître,

Comme un chat des Monts-Rocheux,
D'empuantir toutes sphères!
Qu'à sa mort pourtant, ô mon Dieu!
S'élève quelque prière!
So long as the blade has not
cut off that brain,
that white, green, fatty parcel,
whose steam is never fresh,

(Ah! he should cut off his
nose, his lips, his ears,
his belly! and abandon
his legs! Oh what a marvel!)

But no; truly, I believe that so long
as the blade to his head,
and the stones to his side,
and the flame to his guts,

have not done execution, the tiresome
child, the so stupid animal,
must never for an instant cease
to cheat and betray,

and like a Rocky Mountain cat
to make all places stink!
But still, when he dies, O my God!
may there rise up some prayer!

Click here 2 for another translation of this poem.

Trans. Copyright © Oliver Bernard 1962, 1997 - publ. Penguin Classics


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