Paul Legault translating Arthur Rimbaud

from Party Boat



I was Bladerunner and you were electricity.
I walked my plank like the evil seahorse told me to.
When summer beats the August out of herself
we’ll be this mer-audience to her sea-tornados.

I moaned all the way to where I trembled
like a fish at the bottom, my bottom being fish-
like but of this insane blue that’s like the idea of color or
like a tower of neon forces going down.

I was Aquaman. You were the constellation
the islands made to make me look at.
Dear dark, how many gold birds are sleeping
in you with their little futures? I hear a million.

Translator's Note:
This is the part of Le bateau ivre when the bateau gets really fucked up.

Paul Legault

Translator Bio:
Paul Legault is the author of three books of poetry: The Madeleine Poems (Omnidawn 2010), The Other Poems (Fence, 2011), and The Emily Dickinson Reader (McSweeney's, 2012). Currently, he is a Writer in Residence at Washington University in St. Louis, and can be found here: He also co-edits Telephone Books, a press focused on radical translation, which can be found here:

Author Bio:
Arthur Rimbaud is Arthur Rimbaud.