Sonnet du Trou du Cul
Sonnet of the Asshole


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     This is the only poem known to have been jointly composed by Rimbaud and Verlaine. Parnassian poet Albert Mérat had published a book of sonnets called L'Idole, in which each poem extolled a part of the body of his mistress -with one omission, which the two young iconoclasts proceeded to rectify. This sonnet appeared in the "Album Zutique," a book of scabrous parodies by the literary circle who called themselves Les Zutistes.

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Sonnet of the Asshole

Dark and wrinkled like a violet carnation,
It sighs, humbly nestling in the moss still moist from love
That follows the descent of sweet white cheeks
Down to their edge.

Filaments like tears of milk
Have wept beneath the cruel south wind
That drives them back across the little clots of russet clay,
And disappeared there where the slope has called them.

My Dream has often kissed its opening;
My Soul, that envies mortal intercourse
Has chosen this to be its wild and musky nest of sobs.

It is the swooning olive and the sweet cajoling flute
The tube through which celestial creamy pralines tumble down
Female Promised Land rimmed round with dew!

d'après Albert Mérat
        -- Paul Verlaine (quatrains)
        -- Arthur Rimbaud (tercets)

other translations to the right...

"Hidden and Wrinkled"

Hidden and wrinkled like a budding violet
It breathes, gently worn out, in a tangled vine
(Still damp with love), on the soft incline
Of white buttocks to the rim of the pit.

Thin streams like rivers of milk ; innocent
Tears, shed beneath hot breath that drives them down
Across small clots of rich soil, reddish brown,
Where they lose themselves in the dark descent...

My mouth always dribbles with its coupling force;
My soul, jealous of the body's intercourse,
Makes it tearful, wild necessity.

Ecstatic olive branch, the flute one blows,
The tube where heavenly praline flows,
Promised Land in sticky femininity.

          -translated by Paul Schmidt
Sonnet in Praise of the Butthole

Dark and puckered like a tiny violet eye
It breathes, obscurely lurking in a mossy froth
Still humid from love that follows the curving soft
Slope of snowy ass just past the crease of thigh.

A few glistening threads running like milky tears
Have wept past the rough hot wind pushing them away,
Getting beyond those little gnarls of ruddy clay
To lose their way where the echoing downslope veers.

In dream I often find my suck-hole on the job;
My soul, so jealous of palpable fuckery,
Says this is its musky tear-duct, its nest of sobs.

It's the swoon-diving olive and the flute cajoled,
The pipeline where the celestial praline flows,
Feminine Promised Land in the moistening fold.

          - translated by Dennis J. Carlile
Obscure and wrinkled like a purple eyelet,
It breathes, humbly tapi among foam
Humide encor of love which follows the soft escape
Of the white Buttocks to the heart of its hem.

Similar filaments with milk tears cried,
Under the cruel southerly wind which pushes back them
A through small russet-red marl clots,
To go itself to lose where the slope called them.

My Dream was often brought together with its suction cup;
My heart, of the material coitus jealous, made of
It its fawn-coloured drip and its nest of sobs.

It is the pâmée olive, and the flute caline
It is the tube where goes down the celestial one dresses:
Female Chanaan in enclosed moistnesses!

          - Babelfish
Translator's note: In this translation I have done something that is seldom justified: adding in a concept. The last line translates literally as "Feminine canaan enclosed in moisture(s)." Milk, dew, and semen are often symbolic equivalents in European folklore, and since the milk/semen equivalency has been established in the second verse, I have taken the liberty of tweaking the imagery one step further in the last verse.

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translations      next: Les Rémembrances du Vieillard idiot

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Sonnet du Trou du Cul

Obscur et froncé comme un oeillet violet,
Il respire, humblement tapi parmi la mousse
Humide encor d'amour qui suit la fuite douce
Des Fesses blanches jusqu'au coeur de son ourlet.

Des filaments pareils à des larmes de lait
Ont pleuré, sous l'autan cruel qui les repousse
A travers de petits caillots de marne rousse,
Pour s'aller perdre où la pente les appelait.

Mon Rêve s'aboucha souvent à sa ventouse;
Mon âme, du coït matériel jalouse,
En fit son larmier fauve et son nid de sanglots.

C'est l'olive pâmée, et la flûte caline
C'est le tube où descend la céleste praline:
Chanaan féminin dans les moiteurs enclos!

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translations      next: Les Rémembrances du Vieillard idiot

Translation copyright © 2002 by Slim Volume