Thursday, October 20, 2005

From Rimbaud's Drunken Boat

here are just a few lines from Rimbaud's The Drunken Boat...

I have seen archipelagos of stars! and islands
whose delirious skies are open to sea wanderers: --
Do you sleep, are you exiled in those bottomless nights,
O million golden birds, Life Force of the future?

But, truly, I have wept too much! Dawns are heartbreaking.
Every moon is atrocious and every sun bitter:
sharp love has swollen me up with intoxicating torpor.
O let my keel split! O let me sink to the bottom!

If there is one water in Europe I want, it is the black
cold pool where into the scented twilight
a child squatting full of sadness launches
a boat as fragile as a butterfly in May.

*

On a bench at the University, I sat yesterday, managing frustrations. Reading. Stopping reading. A binary. And here's another thing, reading with something approaching full concentration and another kind of reading, vexed, where you know you are attempting to divert yourself and the feeling that this is why you are reading fades in and out, like music down a windy street, haunting the text.

And the book was full of men, lonely madmen, pursuing unworkable plans with vigor, stolid in the face of failure and always ready to throw a fresh perspective on each thing encountered. At one point, a man asks his friend to carry a bag of potatoes, "not wanting to be seen with proletarian food".

I am walking through Hyde Park with men long dead from the 60s, mad men, talkers and dreamers.

"There are only two times when you stand on your own two feet, when you address the public from a platform and when the soles of your shoes rot through."

(I was reading The Speakers by Heathcote Williams.)

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