Since reality was too prickly for my lavish personality, ---
I found myself nevertheless in my lady's house, got up as
a great blue-gray bird soaring toward the ceiling mold-
ings and dragging my wing through the shadows of the

At the foot of the baldaquin supporting her beloved
jewels and her physical masterpieces, I was a large bear
with purple gums and fur turned hoary with grief, my
eyes on the crystal and silver of the credenzas.

Everything turned to shadow and a passionate aquarium.

In the morning, --- a bellicose dawn in June, --- I ran
to the fields, a donkey, trumpeting and brandishing my
grievance, until the Sabine women of the suburbs came
to throw themselves at my neck.

--- From Illuminations
Arthur Rimbaud
John Ashbery,
©2011 W. W. Norton
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