Arthur Rimbaud receives letters 127 years after his death

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The French poet continues to receive letters in the mailbox installed in his name at the entrance of the oldest cemetery in the city


Bernard Colin, the caretaker of the Charleville Mzires cemetery in France.
AFP

"TORimbaudI guard him, I call him Arthur! "Bernard Colin, caretaker for 37 years of the cemeteryfrom the West, in Charleville-Mzires, in north-eastern France, he faithfully watches over the poet's grave and conscientiously collects his "mail."

Even127 years after his death, the French poet continues to receive lettersin the yellow box "vintage" installed in his name at the entrance of the oldest cemetery in the city. "At least two or three a week," Colin continues to be surprised.

In his house with airs of small mansin neo-ethics that monitors access to the cemetery, Colinkeep those testimonies of affection religiously in shoe boxesand admiration sent from all over the world. "The six-month harvest," he says, opening three boxes stacked in a drawer in the laundry room.

"To my Rimbange (Angel Rimbaud). You have a lifetime," proclaims a crush. "Rimbaud, even if you're not here anymore, know that I love you all my life", writes another, while a third letter promises the poet" heaven and dawn. "Some versify, like this author," Psame felt, devastated love, may your soul rest in peace in this rejected world. " they insist, like this one too, that he hopes to find Rimbaud. Or one Allison: "I am your fan but I never had an answer to my letters. I begin to get impatient "." May this mail arrive to you ", concludes with burning a last letter drawn from one of the boxes.

This desire is always fulfilled. Sent to the address"Arthur Rimbaud, Charleville-Mzires Cemetery", all the letters with postal stamp arrive at their addressee and then they are religiously preserved by Bernard Colin. "Sometimes I found letters that scare me. People confess their dejection. He is their confidant. They speak to him as if he were alive," he says.

Bernard Colin keeps the letters for the poet in shoe boxes.

Medals and a flask of alcohol

Bernard Colin removes another relic from his precious boxes: a pa of the American singerPatti smith, great admirer of the poet of the wind soles and owner since 2017 of a house in the home of Roche, near Charleville-Mzires, where Rimbaud will have writtenA season in hell. "He always comes to meditate at the tomb of Rimbaud when he goes through the Festival of the Green Cabaret," says the caretaker of the cemetery.

"But many others have also come, such as Hubert-Flix Thiefaine, Hugues Aufray and even Dominique de Villepin, the former prime minister," a great lover of Rimbaud, recalls this man who never hesitates to serve as a guide to the many tourists that the summer. "Many Asian, Chinese, Japanese, but also European, French.Some spend hours at the grave to write. Others show respect, have a drink, smoke a cigarette, "says Colin.

His shoe boxes retain the testimony of those visits: letters, poems, Rimbaud books in all languages, CDs, medals, jewelry, cigarette packs, alcohol flasks, a small red foam heart …

Other tributes are made more discreetly. "This is Rimbaud's private letterbox," says Colin, showing a small crack in the head of the family's panten. "I think we will find many, many letters, if it were opened," he imagines.

Colin shows a pa that singer Patti Smith left for Rimbaud.

"And there is the corner of little Arthur," he says smiling. Behind two white steles devoted to Arthur Rimbaud and his sister Isabelle, dead at age 17, couples have been caught making love.

Rimbaud feeds all the ghosts."Rimbaud is the Jim Morrisson of Charleville-Mzires!", says Lucille Pennel, director of the museum dedicated to the poet in his hometown.

If towards the years 1950-1960, the city disdained Rimbaud, which had denigrated it so much, Charleville-Mzires is now fully handed over to its poet, a true tourist attraction. Something Bernard Colin does not deny. "When I arrived 37 years ago, the old caregiver told me that nobody comes to see Rimbaud. This changed completely!"

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. (tagsToTranslate) culture (t) poetry (t) history (t) Books (t) France

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