Daily Inspiration: The Time Arthur Rimbaud went Insane
This poem by Arthur Rimbaud, the French poet who wrote all of his poetry before his 21st birthday, should wake you up completely today.
My turn now. The story of one of my insanities.
For a long time I boasted that I was master of all possible landscapes– and I thought the great figures of modern painting and poetry were laughable.
What I liked were: absurd paintings, pictures over doorways, stage sets, carnival backdrops, billboards, bright-colored prints, old-fashioned literature, church Latin, erotic books full of misspellings, the kind of novels our grandmothers read, fairy tales, little children’s books, old operas, silly old songs, the naive rhythms of country rimes.
I dreamed of Crusades, voyages of discovery that nobody had heard of, republics without histories, religious wars stamped out, revolutions in morals, movements of races and continents; I used to believe in every kind of magic.
I invented colors for the vowels! A black, E white, I red, O blue, U green. I made rules for the form and movement of every consonant, and I boasted of inventing, with rhythms from within me, a kind of poetry that all the senses, sooner or later, would recognize. And I alone would be its translator.
I began it as an investigation. I turned silences and nights into words. What was unutterable, I wrote down. I made the whirling world stand still.
He writes astonishingly well about how he used writing to turn catalysts of insanity into art. Past all of his startling and beautiful descriptions is a very relatable experience, that life at times is unbearably vivid and intense and making art out of it makes the unutterable utterable again. It is predicted he was about 17 when he wrote this particular piece.