Thursday, October 2, 2014

From the archives: a #poem for the weary #adjunct

 …When in doubt, that is to say, when I am woefully behind on posts and at a loss for which of so many topics (readings, news, issues, campaigns, social media, projects, courses usw) to blog, then it's time to make some breathing space by hitting the archives. So here, reposted from October 20, 2012, is ❝Waifs and Strays❞ by Arthur Rimbaud with this (still appropriate) note:
#PAD/s usually go to plog (short for poetry blog) & @PWPicnic…this one seemed somehow so right for here. Alors, sont-nous aussi les enfants de la rue dans notre malchance d'être ainsi abandonnés?

Waifs and Strays by Arthur Rimbaud, translated by Jethro Bithel

Black in the fog and in the snow,
Where the great air-hole windows glow,
With rounded rumps,

Upon their knees five urchins squat,
Looking down where the baker, hot,
The thick dough thumps.
They watch his white arm turn the bread,
Ere through an opening flaming red
The loaf he flings.

They hear the good bread baking, while
The chubby baker with a smile
An old tune sings.

Breathing the warmth into their soul,
They squat around the red air-hole,
As a breast warm.

And when, for feasters' midnight bout,
The ready bread is taken out,
In a cake's form;

And while beneath the blackened beams,
Sings every crust of golden gleams,
While the cricket brags,

The hole breathes warmth into the night,
And into them life and delight,
Under their rags,

And the urchins covered with hoar-frost,
On billows of enchantment tossed
Their little souls,

Glue to the grate their little rosy
Noses, singing through the cosy
Glowing holes,

But with low voices like a prayer,
Bending down to the light down there,
Where heaven gleams.

--So eager that they burst their breeches,
And in the winter wind that screeches
Their linen streams.
Arthur Rimbaud 
"Waifs and Strays" is a translation of Rimbaud's "Les Effarés." This poem is in the public domain. Read "Les Effarés"in original French + explication. Arthur Rimbaud was .  
A volatile and peripatetic poet, the prodigy Arthur Rimbaud wrote all of his poetry in a space of less than five years: Rimbaud Complete

The original post honored Rimbaud's birthdate, October 20, 1854, so I'll look for another suitable Rimbaud poem for October 20. Suggestions invited


  1. On National Poetry Day, it is very apropos! So I will reply with another poem, which my sister just sent me, and which also seems appropriate to adjunct days, though happy ones...

    Ordinary Day

    This was a day when nothing happened,
    the children went off to school
    without a murmur, remembering
    their books, lunches, gloves.
    All morning, the baby and I built block stacks
    in the squares of light on the floor.
    And lunch blended into naptime,
    I cleaned out kitchen cupboards,
    one of those jobs that never gets done,
    then sat in a circle of sunlight
    and drank ginger tea,
    watched the birds at the feeder
    jostle over lunch’s little scraps.
    A pheasant strutted from the hedgerow,
    preened and flashed his jeweled head.
    Now a chicken roasts in the pan,
    and the children return,
    the murmur of their stories dappling the air.
    I peel carrots and potatoes without paring my thumb.
    We listen together for your wheels on the drive.
    Grace before bread.
    And at the table, actual conversation,
    no bickering or pokes.
    And then, the drift into homework.
    The baby goes to his cars, drives them
    along the sofa’s ridges and hills.
    Leaning by the counter, we steal a long slow kiss,
    tasting of coffee and cream.
    The chicken’s diminished to skin & skeleton,
    the moon to a comma, a sliver of white,
    but this has been a day of grace
    in the dead of winter,
    the hard knuckle of the year,
    a day that unwrapped itself
    like an unexpected gift,
    and the stars turn on,
    order themselves
    into the winter night.

    by Barbara Crooker

    Besos, not borders,
    Ana M. Fores Tamayo, Adjunct Justice

    1. I completely forgot about World Poetry Day ~ serendipity. Reminded, I posted something appropriate on the Poets and Writers Picnic Facebook page.

      I'll still want something Rimbaud for October 20 but maybe for the poetry blog instead

  2. Well, I'm glad I reminded you then. But it was actually all my sister's doing. She sent me on a long path of memory, rummaging through cobwebs, looking at a long list of forgotten poetry I had not seen in years. Now you can do the same with Rimbaud, for October 20th!

    Besos, not borders,
    Ana M. Fores Tamayo/Adjunct Justice


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