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Arthur Rimbaud

Posted 12-01-2010 at 11:25 AM by Steve Bucknell
Updated 12-01-2010 at 11:34 AM by Steve Bucknell
I work the afternoon shift, but can’t get home. As the evening progresses all roads are blocked. I stay and work the night shift, getting three hours fitful sleep between one and four in the morning on the floor of a meeting-room. I work the morning shift until midday, and then get a lift in a 4X4 home. The white roads are empty of traffic. Pedestrians struggle along with bags of shopping. It is a gently apocalyptic scene. The snow piles high at the sides of everything.

These are the words I started to write in the long night:

I lie down in darknesse. I wrap myself in sheets like cerements. Snow light floats through me. I form a chrysalis, a palimpsest of words and sleep.

I dream of a hawthorn hedge filled with unaccountable blossoms.

White sheets, white blankets and white pillows of snow surround us.

What I want is given to me. High in the air beautiful arms are opened. The white text turns slowly into me. My limbs twist in sheets and pillows, under deep blankets. I open my mouth to be filled with light. My heart assumes the rhythm of falling. Says this is what we are made of. Sees great galleries opened, great abstracts of whiteness in the air. All the names are written in the whiteness and buried there. There is no other outcome. Great fields emerge; ice crystals touch lips and eyelids, shoulder and hip. Rich dark hair is frozen on the forehead, warm limbs preserved.

Sheer obsessive pleasure in the panoply of snow. Cornice, meringue, swag and swatch, crest and feather. Balletic artistry and airfall of white variance. White apotheosis of completion. Vision of infinity obliterating ancient tumuli and woods. Burial of writer and reader in interweaving textual threads of winter. The snow becomes an infinite regress of language supposing a reader who reads and writes and continually falls.

This text is about how the snow fell through the night, through the day and through the afternoon, adding meaning, achieving metempsychosis. White birds on a great migration lifted their wings across the abolished landscape.

This is my remanence: a cutting out, a devotion to ritual invocation.

The weight of the snow causes small explosions. Paradoxical gulls flee through the drifting smoke. All trees stand amazed as the pages of the white book are opened called A Book of the Winter.

Winter Morning.

That was the morning when, with Her, you struggled among those banks of snow, those green-lipped crevasses, that ice, those black flags and blue rays, and the purple perfumes of the polar sun.

Arthur Rimbaud. “Metropolitan.” Translated by Helen Rootham.
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