L’Éternité, Eternity

 

Eternity, a poem of May 1872 (in A Season in Hell)

 

of Arthur Rimbaud, 1854-1891, French,

written when he was 18, one year before he ended his poetic career.

 

 

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Seascape at Port-en-Bassin, Normandy, oil on canvas, 1888. 

Georges Seurat, 1858-1891, French.  National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

 

 

 

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Image of the poem from the net

 

Eternity, May 1892;  translated by Oliver Bernard

 

It has been found again.
What? – Eternity.
It is the sea gone
With the sun.*

 

Sentinel soul,
Let us whisper the confession
Of the night full of nothingness
And the day on fire.

 

From human approbation,
From common urges
You extricate yourself
And fly off as you will.

 

Since from you alone,
Satiny embers,
Duty breathes
Without anyone saying: at last.

 

Here is no hope,
No orietur **
Knowledge and fortitude,
Torture is certain.

 

It has been found again.
What? – Eternity.
It is the sea gone
With the sun.

 

 

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Sailing in the Mist, and detail,  c. 1895, oil on canvas. 

Henry J. Twachtman, 1853-1902, American. Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

 

 

 

* The meeting place of the sky and the sea is called ‘offing’ which also means something close by, something yet to be experienced but fully expected. 

‘Offing’ does not seem to carry any emotional heft.

 

**  ?? from the Latin verb, orior, to arise, emerge?

 

 

4 thoughts on “L’Éternité, Eternity

  1. Thanks to Rimbaud!

    Sometimes I think that he could not bear the insight that he had and so cut off the stream! Thanks for your comment, Luisa!

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