Rimbaud, Arthur - Come, let us climb into the heavens together
Type of spiritual experienceHallucination
BackgroundAbout the death of a child
A description of the experience
Arthur Rimbaud – from Rimbaud Complete [translated by Wyatt Mason]
They seem to mouth god’s name. Sitting here near his head, an angel
Leans toward him, spying the minute murmurs of an
Innocent heart and, himself transfixed by the image of the child,
Contemplates this heavenly face; he admires the joys
Written on the serene brow, the joys of his soul,
This flower as yet untouched by the South wind;
‘Child like me,
Come, let us climb into the heavens together! Enter the celestial
Kingdom; live in the palace you have seen in sleep,
You are worthy of it! Earth can’t bear a child of heaven!
Here, you can’t trust anyone; mortals never cherish
Real bliss, even from the scent of flowers rises
Something bitter, and heavy hearts never know
Joys sorrow-tinged; pleasure never unencumbered
By cloud, and tears always glimmer
Through ambiguous laughter. And to what end?
Seeing your brow withered by bitter life,
And worries troubling your blue eyes with tears?
No, no; a God breaks the binds that tie you to life.
May your mother not wear mourning veils!
May she see your coffin no differently from your cradle!
May she forgo her heavy brow, and may your funeral not
Weigh upon her face but fill her hands with lilies;
For a pure heart, its final hours are its most beautiful!’
And he then brought his wing delicately to his rosy lips,
And harvested the child without him feeling a thing and took
Upon his wings the soul of the harvested child, and carried him
To higher places, while gently beating his wings… Now the cradle holds
Only paling limbs, which still have their beauty,
But the vivifying breath now neither nourishes nor gives life.
He is dead