By Arthur Rimbaud. Translated from the French by Olivia Faix. Use only with permission. The original, "Le dormeur du val," was written in October 1870.
The Sleeper in the Vale
It's a pocket of greenery where a stream sings,
Madly catching on the grass its rags
Of silver; where the sun, from the proud mountain,
Shines: it's a small vale that is bubbling with rays of light.
A young soldier, mouth open, head bare,
And the nape of his neck bathing in cool blue cress,
Sleeps; he is stretched out on the grass, under the skies,
Pale in his green bed where the light rains.
His feet in the gladioli, he sleeps. Smiling like
A sick child smiles, he is dozing:
Nature, cradle him warmly: he is cold.
The scents do not make his nostrils quiver;
He sleeps in the sun, his hand on his chest,
Peaceful. There are two red holes in his right side.