PREMIÈRE SOIRÉE FIRST EVENING
Arthur Rimbaud trans. Thomas D. Le

Elle était fort déshabillée
Et de grands arbres indiscrets
Aux vitres jetaient leur feuillée
Malinement, tout près, tout près.

Assise sur ma grande chaise,
Mi-nue, elle joignait les mains.
Sur le plancher frissonaient d'aise
Ses petits pieds, si fins, si fins.

- Je regardai, couleur de cire,
Un petit rayon buissonnier
Papillonner dans son sourire
Et sur son sein, mouche au rosier.

- Je baisai ses fines chevilles.
Elle eut un doux rire brutal
Qui s'égrenait en claires trilles,
Un joli rire de cristal.

Les petits pieds sous la chemise
Se sauvèrent: 'Veux-tu finir!'
- La première audace permise,
Le rire feignait de punir!

- Pauvrets palpitants sous ma lèvre,
Je baisai doucement ses yeux:
- Elle jeta sa tête mièvre
En arrière: 'Oh! c'est encor mieux!'

'Monsieur, j'ai deux mots à te dire ...'
- Je lui jetai le reste au sein
Dans un baiser, qui la fit rire
D'un bon rire qui voulait bien ...

- Elle était fort déshabillée
Et de grands arbres indiscrets
Aux vitres jetaient leur feuillée
Malinement, tout près, tout près.

She was fully undressed
And the tall indiscreet trees
Cast off their leaves against the panes
Maliciously closely, closely.

Sitting in my large chair,
Half-naked, she clasped her hands,
On the floor shivered with ease
Her little feet, so fine, so fine.

I beheld, wax-colored,
A little wayward ray
Fluttering in her smile
And on her breast, a fly in the rosebush.

Then I would kiss her fine ankles
In spite of her sweet laugh brutal
Which ticked away in its clear trills
A pretty, clear laugh of crystal.

The little feet burrowed under the shirt
Flitted away, "Will you stop now?"
The first daring step was thus allowed,
Yet the smile still feigned to avert.

Throbbing gently under my lips
Her eyes batting I softly kiss,
Throwing her delicate head
Backward, "Oh, 'tis even better!

Monsieur, let me tell you something..."
I threw all the rest to her breast
That made her laugh in just one kiss
Such a good laugh so well-meaning.

She was fully undressed
And the tall indiscreet trees
Cast off their leaves against the panes
Maliciously closely, closely.

Click here 2 for another translation of this poem.

Trans. Copyright © Tim Chilcott 2003


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