Rimbaud: First Blood http://www.iial.org.uk

Please view http://www.iial.org.uk for the highest quality new fiction coming out of London. Not directly connected to Rimbaud, but he would be most proud!

I’m currently reading a fantastic biography of Arthur Rimbaud by  a man called Grahame Robb, and would thoroughly recommend it to anybody who has an interest in fin de siecle literature, The French Decadence, bizarre biographies etc. I’m absolutely hooked – I’ve always been a fan of Arthur Rimbaud, the whole idea of a precocious young poet writing all of his best work by the age of seventeen and sleeping his way around the backwaters of Charleville really appeals to me. I believe that his elopement, both sexual and literary, with the older, bearded symbolist Paul Verlaine produced some of the best poetry of the nineteenth century; the legacy of their violent, drug-fuelled sexual passion helped form an image of the decadence which persists to this day. I understand that the poem might not really work without being familiar with Rimbaud’s poetry and/or history, but this was written purely for my own enjoyment. I just love the way he finishes his poems with ‘…etc’ like he doesn’t give a shit. Because he doesn’t.

I wrote a poem a couple of weeks ago when I started reading this book, I’d quite like to do one when I finish it. I know the title is a weak pun, but I quite it nonetheless.

Rimbaud (First Blood)

I rode through humid years to Charleville

And awoke (sickened to the stomach from the richest of basics).

Bread, cheese, a litre of table wine.

I sobbed on a page with the cruelty of elders,

And sought a bearded man to love.

(I scratched, I tied, I fucked my way

Through three seasons,

Before returning to the country inn

With a bullet in my wrist.)

And so we sailed to warmer climes

To spread the leaden history guns.

I rode through humid years to be

A prophet now and then.

(A lens for the malady, the Western eye

Reflecting back a brighter sun etc.)

About Benjamin Norris

Published writer of short stories, long stories, poems. Well received art critic and cultural commentator for Berlin magazines. Collaborator with operatic societies. Co-writer of fictional historic psycholinguistic journals. Lecturer of architecture and art history at a Budapest University. View all posts by Benjamin Norris

5 responses to “Rimbaud: First Blood http://www.iial.org.uk

  • rachelle24

    How does one get in contact with you personally?

  • Keve Bradley

    It’s uncanny. I was thinking about “The Drunken Boat” as I came across your link in my mailbox and there was this. I first drank, and yes, I do mean drank, Rimbaud back in 1972 when I was introduced to him through an uncle. I was eighteen then and I identified. I have thought recently of reading him again just to see how time might have adjusted the eye; to see if distance made any difference. Perhaps now, he might not seem so near to me. Thanks to your poem I am certain I have to do this.

    Your poem is identification on a very personal level compelling you to write in the first person. It is also a compelling poem iof itself. It is a poem to a poet. What better sort of poem is there?

    I look forward to reading more and thank your for visiting The Mulberry Pages. Come back anytime.

  • johnewordslinger

    Very cool, looking forward to the next inspired piece… I love how you did climes, instead of climate, very good, I guess it’s the dialect huh, , thank you and much appreciated, WS

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