Other Poems

Le Dormeur du Val

The Sleeping Man in the Valley

It's a hole of greenery where a river sings
Hanging crazily the silver rags on the grass;
Where, the sun, from the proud mountain,
Shines: it's a little valley where rays foam up.

A young soldier, mouth opened, naked head,
And the nape bathing in the blue cold watercress,
Sleeps; he is extended in the grass, under the cloud,
Pale in his green bed where the light rains.

The feet in the gladiolus, he sleeps. Smiling as
a sick child smiles, he takes a nap:
Nature, cradle him warmly: he feels cold.

The perfumes do not make him sniff;
He sleeps in the sun, the hand on his breast
Quietly. He has two red holes in the right side.

                                                                          Arthur Rimbaud
  October 1870

French Text

Translated by Kunio Monji
Reviewed by ichico
March 1st, 2003 and December 6th, 2004

The "gladiolus" means a sword, a soldier or a combat.  The word comes from Latin "gladius" that means a sword. Because the shape of the leaf is just like a sword. M. Claude Duchet says that this gladiolus is the iris in the swamp in Ardenne, which has yellow flowers in June and July.

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