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Recording of the French Poem “Voyelles” d’Arthur Rimbaud

Camille Chevalier-Karfis By Camille Chevalier-Karfis - updated on Jun 17, 2020

Slower and natural readings of the French poem “Voyelles” d’Arthur Rimbaud – listen to my clear French audio recording and read the English translation of the poem.

Today, I’m going to read you one of Arthur Rimbaud’s most famous poems: Voyelles. It is the first Rimbaldian poem to use association as a writing principle.

Each vowel awakens multiple images, visual, sound and olfactory impressions. Each vowel is illustrated with one or more tables which are hallucinations, illuminations.

1 – Famous French Poem “Voyelles” d’Arthur Rimbaud – Audio Recording

Please press play to hear my readings of the famous French poem “Voyelles” d’Arthur Rimbaud.

1 – Famous French Poem “Voyelles” d’Arthur Rimbaud


A noir, E blanc, I rouge, U vert, O bleu : voyelles,
Je dirai quelque jour vos naissances latentes :
A, noir corset velu des mouches éclatantes
Qui bombinent autour des puanteurs cruelles,

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Golfes d’ombre ; E, candeur des vapeurs et des tentes,
Lances des glaciers fiers, rois blancs, frissons d’ombelles ;
I, pourpres, sang craché, rire des lèvres belles
Dans la colère ou les ivresses pénitentes ;

U, cycles, vibrements divins des mers virides,
Paix des pâtis semés d’animaux, paix des rides
Que l’alchimie imprime aux grands fronts studieux ;

O, suprême Clairon plein des strideurs étranges,
Silence traversés des Mondes et des Anges :
O l’Oméga, rayon violet de Ses Yeux ! –

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2 – English Translation of the classical French poem – “Voyelles” d’Arthur Rimbaud

Here is my own translation of the French poem. I went for a literal translation so you could understand the vocabulary.


A black, E white, I red, U green, O blue: vowels
Someday I’ll talk about your secret birth-cries,
A, black furry corset of brilliant flies
That buzz around cruel stenches,

Gulfs of shadow; E, whiteness of vapours and of tents,
Lances of proud glaciers, white kings, shivers of umbel;
I, purples, spat blood, smile of beautiful lips
In anger or in the raptures of penitence;

U, waves, divine shudders of viridian seas,
Peace of pastures dotted with animals, peace of furrows
Which alchemy prints on broad studious foreheads;

O, sublime Trumpet full of strange stridencies,
Silences crossed by Worlds and by Angels:
O the Omega, violet ray of Her Eyes!

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