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Saturday, 26 June 2010

Rimbaud in Africa


File:Markt in Harar Photo von Rimbaud.jpg

He left his fortune to the Harar boy
Djami, whose name rhymes with friend,
The sole human he ever loved or trusted,
His young factotum, his faithful duidar
Dead before the poet's legacy reached him,
A suitcase full of silver thalers bearing
Maria Theresa's outdated head.

File:Street scene Harar-High St. leading to  market, Abyssinia  01.jpg

File:Harar cemetery (Ethiopia).jpg

File:Arthur Rimbaud  rouge volcan.Png

Market in Harar: photo by Arthur Rimbaud, c. 1883, image by Andro96, 2006
Street scene, Harar: photo by Bain News Service, 1900, image by Andro96, 2006 (George Grantham Bain Collection, Library of Congress)
Cemetery outside old city of Harar, Ethiopia: photo by Ahron de Leeuw, 2006
Montage en rouge: Arthur Rimbaud et éruption volcanique: image by PRA, 2007


Curtis Roberts said...

I love everything about this, which I found like an oasis after spending a short season in hell (two days without any power after a big storm in Pennsylvania.) It's clear, but evocative, mysterious, sad and very moving. The photo taken by Rimbaud crowning the set seems sort of pre-imprinted on my brain and makes everything seem real and permanent.

TC said...

Thank you, Curtis.

The uncanny sensation of seeing that Harar market scene as if through Rimbaud's eyes I found quite affecting.

(As of the previous post, I've been thinking about "visual rooms".)

The juxtaposition of "storm" and "Rimbaud" put me in mind of this.

Curtis Roberts said...

Thanks for pointing toward Tear (After Rimbaud), which I loved. Both poems and the images that accompany them really suit my current mood and "visual room". As you say, seeing Harrar through Rimbaud's eyes really scores a direct, completely unanticipated, hit. Curiously, I've had Ethiopian food on the brain lately, but the weather in these parts really dampens the appetite. We'd very much welcome a cool breeze or two.