To a Reason

By Arthur Rimbaud 1854–1891 Arthur Rimbaud

Translated from the French by John Ashbery Read the translator's notes

A tap of your finger on the drum releases all sounds and initiates the new harmony.
      A step of yours is the conscription of the new men and their marching orders.
     You look away: the new love!
     You look back,—the new love!
     “Change our fates, shoot down the plagues, beginning with time,” the children sing to you. “Build wherever you can the substance of our fortunes and our wishes,” they beg you.
     Arriving from always, you’ll go away everywhere.

Source: Poetry (April 2011).


This poem originally appeared in the April 2011 issue of Poetry magazine

April 2011
 Arthur  Rimbaud


It would be difficult to overestimate the influence of Arthur Rimbaud’s poetry on subsequent practitioners of the genre. His impact on the Surrealist movement has been widely acknowledged, and a host of poets, from André Breton to André Freynaud, have recognized their indebtedness to Rimbaud’s vision and technique. He was the enfant terrible of French poetry in the second half of the nineteenth century and a major figure in . . .

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Poetic Terms Prose Poem, Symbolist

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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