A Season in Hell

Rimbaud

Progamming / to stage

I don’t know if many people have read this text in its entirety – it’s a very difficult text to read, from all points of view.

But… well :
We shouldn’t read it too young.
We shouldn’t read it when we are too sad.
We shouldn’t read it when we feel too fragile.

The reason?
Here :

« Jadis, si je me souviens bien, ma vie était un festin où s’ouvraient tous les cœurs,
où tous les vins coulaient.
Un soir, j’ai assis la Beauté sur mes genoux. -Et je l’ai trouvée amère. -Et je l’ai
injuriée.
Je me suis armé contre la justice.
Je me suis enfui. Ô sorcières, ô misère, ô haine, c’est à vous que mon trésor a été
confié!
Je parvins à faire s’évanouir dans mon esprit toute l’espérance humaine. Sur toute
joie pour l’étrangler j’ai fait le bond sourd de la bête féroce.
J’ai appelé les bourreaux pour, en périssant, mordre l”


” Once upon a time, if I remember correctly, my life was a feast where all hearts opened,
where all the wines flowed.
One evening, I sat Beauty on my lap. -And I found her bitter. -And I
insulted.
I armed myself against justice.
I ran away. O witches, O misery, O hatred, my treasure was yours.
entrusted!
I managed to make all human hope vanish in my mind. Over all
joy to strangle it I made the deaf leap of the ferocious beast.
I called the executioners to bite it as it perished.”

And from there, Rimbaud invites us to travel in his soul, intelligent and bruised.

These are devastated lands, burnt, calcined trees, sharp rocks on which one hurts oneself, the smell of sulfur, bad luck, fear, shame…
And then words that clash – that don’t mean anything anymore, that lose their meaning. There is God, the God that children were taught in those times, a God disfigured by men – by his mother, a God who is there but whom Rimbaud cannot find, a God used and misused by ambitious cynics, century after century – yes there is a pain of Faith in these lines of Rimbaud’s.

He has cultivated more than any other the lucidity about himself: and here he has created his own hell, by dint of not knowing how to lie to himself.
A hell full of images that cut your soul to pieces – a hell of burnt and devastated life, a hell where love is desperately absent – and when it presents itself, it is in such a vile, lamentable form that it sinks.

In Alchimie du Verbe, he tells himself – he shows himself in his search for beauty, art, the great. He shows himself when he is lost, he shows himself stupid, vain –
But the last line is simple and clear: “now I know how to salute beauty”.

It is not the last line of the poem.
That would be too easy, wouldn’t it?
A Season in Hell is the young man who looks at what he has done, what he has thought, and finds nothing but emptiness.
Who is looking for a friendly hand to lift him up – but there was no friendly hand for Rimbaud.
He wanted purity of heart so violently that he hated all the compromises of our loves.
He hated his own heart and found himself damned on earth.

He was 20 years old – and after that he stopped writing to try to live, a literary life – an adventurous life, of course.

So I know that it’s no longer fashionable to look into our souls – we prefer to see the straws in other people’s souls, it’s more comfortable.
I know very well that desires for the absolute, like those that took Rimbaud away, are marked with the seal of madness.

But sometimes, yes, only sometimes, it is important to make heard the voice of the one who crucified his soul, by dint of wanting to be a man, by dint of wanting to understand what it meant: the good, God, Evil –

After all, art isn’t all about love. And the difficulty to live, to be, to be someone we can accept, is also important in our lives. No?

And since Rimbaud is a major author, with an imagination full of images and sounds – he can only have a place, at least once, on a stage for his voice to resonate, once again.

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Featured Image : P. Brueghel – The Triumph of Death / Okay – it’s not very “entertainment” – it’s okay, it’s not on the program. That’s what I would have liked to have seen in a program.

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