Some poets make me want to learn a language because so much of the edge and power of poetry is lost in translation. Arthur Rimbaud is such a poet. I want to learn French just to be able to read his poetry. I think pieces like this, which still stir, must be shallow pale ghosts of the real thing.

Being Beauteous’

Against the snow, a tall Beautiful Being. Whistlings of death 
and circles of muffled music make this adored body rise, enlarge
and tremble like a ghost; red and black wounds rupture the 
glorious flesh. Life’s colours darken, dance and disengage from 
the Vision as it takes shape. Shivers rise and rumble, and the 
frenzied cocktail of these effects combines with the mortal 
whistling and the raucous music that the world, at our backs, 
hurls at our earth mother –– she recoils, she rears up. Oh! our 
bones are mantled with a loving new body once more.
-- translated by Robin Boothroyd
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