The Drunken Boat
by Arthur Rimbaud

Translated in ChickenHed by
The Man in the Sky

As I descended impassible Rivers,
I no longer felt guided by haulers:
Squalling Redskins had taken them for targets,
Nailing them naked to colored poles.

I was indifferent to all crews,
Carriers of Flemish wheat or English cotton.
When with my haulers the uproar ended,
The Rivers let me descend as I wanted.

Into the furious lapping tides,
I, another winter, blunter than children's brains,
I ran! And unmoored Peninsulas
Have never suffered a jumble more triumphant.

The tempest blessed my maritime awakenings.
Lighter than cork I danced upon the waves
That are called the eternal victim rollers,
Ten nights, without regret for the simple stare of lamps!

Sweeter than sour apple flesh to children,
The green water penetrated my pine hull
And of the stains of blue wines and vomit
Washed me, dispersing rudder and grapnel.

And from then on, I bathed in the Poem
Of the Sea, star infused and lactescent
Devouring the green azures; where, floating pale
And ravished, the pensive drowned sometimes descend.

Where, tinting instantly the blues, delirium
And slow rhythms under the rutilant day,
Stronger than alcohol, vaster than our lyres,
The bitter redness of love ferments!

I know the sky split with lightning, and the waterspouts
And the surf and currents: I know the evening,
The dawn exalted as a population of doves,
And sometimes I've seen what man thought he saw!

I've seen the sun low, stained with mystic horrors,
Illuminating long violet coagulations,
Like actors of very antique dramas
The waves rolling off their shivering shutters!

I've dreamed the green night of dazzled snows,
A kiss rising slowly through the seas' eyes,
The circulation of incredible saps,
And the yellow and blue awakening of phosphorous chanters!

I followed, for pregnant months, like hysterical
Bitching, the swell assaulting the reefs,
Without dreaming that Marys' luminous feet
Could force a muzzle over puffing Oceans!

I've hit, you know, incredible Floridas
Mixed with flowers the eyes of panthers and skins
Of Men! Rainbows tense as bridles
Under the seas horizon, of glaucous herds!

I've seen enormous swamps ferment, fishnets
Where in the reeds rots a whole Leviathan!
Water collapsing in the midst of calm,
And the distances cataracting toward the abyss!

Glaciers, silver suns, nacreous tides, smouldering skies!
Hideous wrecks at the bottom of brown gulfs
Where giant serpents devoured by bugs
Fall from trees twisted with black perfumes!

I should've shown children these dorados
Of the blue wave, these fish of gold, these singing fish.
--Flower foam cradled my drifting
And ineffible winds winged me at times.

Sometimes, a martyr weary of poles and zones,
The sea whose sob nurtured my gentle roll
Offered up her flowers of shade and yellow suckers
And I remained, like a woman on her knees...

Almost an island, rocking at my sides the quarrels
And droppings of clamoring blond eyed birds.
And I wandered, when through my fragile bonds
The drowned fell backward into sleep!

But I, a boat lost under the hair of coves,
Thrown by the hurricane into birdless ether,
Whose Monitors and Hanseatic sailboats
Wouldn't recover my water drunk carcass;

Free, fuming, mounting violet fog,
I who pierced the reddening sky like a wall
Who bore, exquisite jam for good poets,
Lichens of sun and azure mucus;

Who ran, stained with electric lunules,
An insane plank, escorted by black seahorses,
When Julys crumble with the blow of cudgels
The sky ultramarine with ardent funnels;

I who trembled, hearing moans at fifty leagues
The rut of Behemoths and thick Maelstroms,
Eternal spinner of blue immobilities,
I long for the Europe of ancient parapets!

I've seen sidereal archipelagos! and isles
Whose delirious skies are open to the voyager:
--Is it in these bottomless nights that you sleep and are exiled,
Million golden birds, O future Vigor?

But, truly, I cry too much! Dawns are harrowing.
All moons are atrocious, and all suns bitter:
Acrid love has swollen me to intoxicating torpors.
Oh let my keel burst! Oh let me go into the sea!

If I desire a water of Europe, it's the puddle
Black and cold, where in the fragrant twilight
A crouching child full of sadness, releases
A boat frail as a May butterfly.

I no longer bathe in your langour, oh waves,
Take off in the wake of cotton carriers,
Nor traverse the pride of flags and flames,
Nor swim under the horrible eyes of pontoons.