MrsDarwin challenged me to try my hand at a translation of Arthur Rimbaud's poem "Roman." I didn't attempt to match meter or rhyme, but attempted some of the wordplay -- and didn't consult any other translation either. Here's my stab, from first reading to final version in one morning. The original is here.
Romance by Arthur Rimbaud
(translated by Erin Arlinghaus)
You can't be serious! Not at seventeen:
come one evening, you've had enough!
enough glasses of beer, enough lemon-fizz drinks,
enough blinding lights in the noisy cafes.
You flee out to the path, hung over with spring lindens,
the blossoms' scent fine in the fine June night air,
so sweet -- your eyes close --
so heady the air, spilling over with sound (the city's not far)
and with perfume, from vines and from beer.
That's when you glimpse a dimming blue, just a scrap
between the shoots of the trees, the young suckers,
Pierced by a faulty star
that in one slight shiver vanishes, so small and pure white.
O June night! Seventeen! You'll let it go to your head,
the sap rising up in you like foam, like champagne,
Rising, too, to your very lips on fluttering wings, a hum, a buzz, a kiss.
Across the pages of every romance, your heart has played Crusoe,
washed ashore, gone back to nature now, on its own;
But now a girl sweeps into the weak streetlight,
a brief flash, a promise, of delight; then passes back into the shadows
of Papa's head towering high above the rim of his collar;
She sees you in your frightful innocence, and so, all while putting one tiny foot in front of the other,
whirls on one booted heel,
and in one blow kills the humming tune right there on your lips.
You're in love. You're taken -- at least for summer.
You're in love. You'll make sonnets -- and they'll make her laugh.
All your friends will flee -- you'll have gone out of style;
till your object, one, night, cares to send her reply.
On that night you'll run back to the blinding cafes,
you'll be begging for beers, for one more lemon-fizz,
You can't be serious! Not at seventeen,
not with those lindens blooming, looming over the path.