Arthur Rimbaud

Le buffet
translated by Allison Vanouse

It's a big carven cupboard. The sombre oak,
so old, has the rich air of the old ones;
the cupboard is open, and pooled in its dark
like a mouthful of old wine, a scent beckons;

  It's full. It's a rubble-heap of old old-news,
of odorous yellow linens, of chiffons
of women or infants, of withered lace geum,
of cast-off babushkas, patterned with griffons;

  There you find medallions, the keepsake locks
of white or blond hair, the portraits, the dry corsage;
its perfume mixed with the fruit's perfume.

  O old-time cupboard, you know your stores,
and you want to tell your tales, and you hum
as they slowly open your big black doors.