Novel

by Arthur Rimbaud

I.

No one's serious at seventeen.

--On beautiful nights when beer and lemonade

And loud, blinding cafés are the last thing you need

--You stroll beneath green lindens on the promenade.

Lindens smell fine on fine June nights!

Sometimes the air is so sweet that you close your eyes;

The wind brings sounds--the town is near--

And carries scents of vineyards and beer. . .

II.

--Over there, framed by a branch

You can see a little patch of dark blue

Stung by a sinister star that fades

With faint quiverings, so small and white. . .

June nights! Seventeen!--Drink it in.

Sap is champagne, it goes to your head. . .

The mind wanders, you feel a kiss

On your lips, quivering like a living thing. . .

III.

The wild heart Crusoes through a thousand novels

--And when a young girl walks alluringly

Through a streetlamp's pale light, beneath the ominous shadow

Of her father's starched collar. . .

Because as she passes by, boot heels tapping,

She turns on a dime, eyes wide,

Finding you too sweet to resist. . .

--And cavatinas die on your lips.

IV.

You're in love. Off the market till August.

You're in love.--Your sonnets make Her laugh.

Your friends are gone, you're bad news.

--Then, one night, your beloved, writes. . .!

That night. . .you return to the blinding cafés;

You order beer or lemonade. . .

--No one's serious at seventeen

When lindens line the promenade.


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