Translation of Rimbaud Poem by Richard Vallance

Richard Vallance”s recent translation into an English quatrain of Arthur Rimbaud”s “Ophelia”:

Richard Vallance, translator. Ophelia, d”après, Ophélie d”Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891)


In black waves becalmed where stars fell asleep,
Ophelia lily-like dreams dreams too white.
Where she slowly floats, through her tresses seep
The forest”s morts still serenading night.

It”s been some thousand years since she has passed,
The phantom waif, along that long black stream,
And some thousand years since those eyes were glassed
With madness murmured in her faded dream.

The wind will kiss her breasts where it unfolds
Fair tresses cradled in that lapping pond;
Will weeping willows dare touch rippling folds
Her cold raiments trail round every tired frond?

The waterlilies weep around her bier;
Now and then she stirs in her alder”s shade
That must comfort her in her wildest fear,
While silver stars sing her their serenade.

© by Richard Vallance 2004 (All Rights Reserved) *