translated by Wyatt Mason
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.
29 September 1870
from: Rimbaud Complete. Copyright 2002.