RIMBAUD: ETERNITY

by Robin Boothroyd

Happy New Year! To celebrate here’s a poem about time – or, more specifically, about eternity. It’s a translation, by yours truly, of a poem by Arthur Rimbaud. There are two known versions of ‘Eternity’ which differ slightly – this is my preferred version from A Season in Hell, the only collection of Rimbaud’s poems published in his lifetime.

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‘Eternity’ 

by Arthur Rimbaud, translated by Robin Boothroyd 

Rediscovered!
What? Eternity.
It is the sunrise
Soldered to the sea.

O eternal soul,
Despite lonely night
And fiery day
Keep your vow.

Keep it to escape
The ballot box,
And buck the trend!
At your wish take wing…

No ‘Christ has risen’.
No hope––not ever.
Just science, patience
And certain suffering.

No more tomorrow,
Embers of silk,
Your duty is
Vim and vigour.

Rediscovered!
––What?––Eternity.
It is the sunrise
Soldered to the sea.

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Perfection is an eternal dawn without hope or expectation. Click here for more Rimbaud translations.

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