Last night when I was in bed, I was reading this poem by Rimbaud and I read it again and again, in English and French, and I wanted to sink into it, and sink into it, even though it is short, and sort of falls apart at the end, although I don’t know if it falls apart because of Rimbaud or because of the translator, or because of my own lack of understanding, but I am going to give you it now, because it feels like all I ever wanted, at least from a poem, at least from a paragraph, and now Rimbaud:
I am an ephemeral and not too discontented citizen of a metropolis considered modern because all known taste has been evaded in the furnishings and the exterior of the houses as well as in the layout of the city. Here you would fail to detect the least trace of any monument of superstition. Morals and language are reduced to their simplest expression, at last! The way these millions of people, who do not even need to know each other, manage their education, business, and old age is so identical that the course of their lives must be several times less long that that which a mad statistics calculates for the people of the continent. And from my window I see new specters rolling through the thick eternal smoke—our woodland shade, our summer night!—new Eumenides in front of my cottage which is my country and all my heart since everything here resembles it,—Death without tears, our diligent daughter and servant, a desperate Love, and a pretty Crime howling in the mud of the street.
(Louise Varèse, translator)