"The Sleeper in the Valley [Le Dormeur du val]"

The Sleeper in the Valley [Le Dormeur du val]

by Arthur Rimbaud (translated from the French by Oilver Bernard) 

 

It is a green hollow where a stream gurgles,

Crazily catching silver rags of itself on the grasses;

Where the sun shines from the proud mountain:

It is a little valley bubbling over with light.

A young soldier, open-mouthed, bare-headed,
With the nape of his neck bathed in cool blue cresses,
Sleeps; he is stretched out on the grass, under the sky,

Pale on his green bed where the light falls like rain.

His feet in the yellow flags, he lies sleeping. Smiling as
A sick child might smile, he is having a nap:

Cradle him warmly, Nature: he is cold.

No odour makes his nostrils quiver;

He sleeps in the sun, his hand on his breast
At peace. There are two red holes in his right side. 

 

Source: Collected Poems.  Trans. Oilver Bernard.  Penguin, 1986. 

 

Original:

 

C’est un trou de verdure où chante une rivière
Accrochant follement aux herbes des haillons
D’argent; où le soleil de la montagne fière,
Luit; C’est un petit val qui mousse de rayons.

 

Un soldat jeune bouche ouverte, tête nue,
Et la nuque baignant dans le frais cresson bleu,
Dort; il est étendu dans l’herbe, sous la nue,
Pale dans son lit vert où la lumière pleut.

 

Les pieds dans les glaïeuls, il dort. Souriant comme
Sourirait un enfant malade, il fait un somme:
Nature, berce-le chaudement: il a froid.

 

Les parfums ne font plus frissonner sa narine;
Il dort dans le soleil, la main sur sa poitrine
Tranquille. Il a deux trous rouges au coté droit

 

Source: Poésies.  Oeuvres I.  Flammarion, 1989. 98.