Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, CITIES, by ARTHUR RIMBAUD



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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

CITIES, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: What cities these! What a people, for whom have been built up
Last Line: Come my slumbers and my least movements?


What cities these! What a people, for whom have been built up these
Alleghanies and Lebanons of dream! Chalets of crystal and wood move on
invisible rails and pulleys. The old craters rimmed by colossi and copper palms
roar melodiously in the fires. On the canals hung behind the chalets, festivals
of love ring out. The hunting song of the chimes is hallooing in the gorges.
Guilds of giant singers flock together in vestments and oriflammes that glitter
like the light on mountain peaks. On platforms, in the midst of chasms, Rolands
are blaring their bravura. On the catwalks of the abyss and the roofs of inns
the staffs are decked with flags by the hot blaze of the sky. The crumbling of
celestial transformations rejoins the fields on high where the seraphic she-
centaurs circulate amid the avalanches. Above the level of the highest crests,
a sea troubled by the eternal birth of Venus, laden with fleets bearing male-
voice choirs and with the confused mutter of precious pearls and conches-the sea
darkens at times with deadly glintings. On the declivities bellow harvests of
flowers big as our arms and goblets. Processions of Mabs in russet gowns,
opaline, ascend from the ravines. High up there, Diana gives suck to stags,
their feet in waterfall and brambles. The Bacchantes of the suburbs sob, and
the moon burns and howls. Venus enters the caverns of blacksmiths and of
hermits. Belfries sing out in clusters the ideas of the peoples. From castles
built of bone emerges the unknown music. All the legends circulate, and the
elks hurl themselves into the market towns. The paradise of storms caves in.
The savages are dancing ceaselessly the Festival of the Night. And, one hour, I
descended into the tumult of a boulevard of Bagdad where they sang, in
companies, the joy of new work, under a thick breeze, moving about without being
able to elude the fabulous phantoms of the mountains where they were to have met
again.

What good arms, what beautiful hour will restore to me that region from which
come my slumbers and my least movements?





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