David Bowie and Arthur Rimbaud

Not doing much this morning, but not doing is doing, right? Listening to Youtube: Martha and the Vandellas, Santana, and David Bowie: the man who could do a show. I’ve always thought “Heroes” was Bowie’s homage to Arthur Rimbaud’s “Royalty” from Illuminations. Here he is singing “Heroes”. I could listen to it all day.

Below is “Royalty” by Rimbaud and my humble translation, partly an assimilation of all those before.


Un beau matin, chez un peuple fort doux, un homme et une femme superbes criaient sur la place publique. “Mes amis, je veux qu’elle soit reine !” “Je veux être reine !” Elle riait et tremblait. Il parlait aux amis de révélation, d’épreuve terminée. Ils se pâmaient l’un contre l’autre.

En effet, ils furent rois toute une matinée où les tentures carminées se relevèrent sur les maisons, et toute l’après-midi, où ils s’avancèrent du côté des jardins de palmes.


A man and a woman, both beautiful, one fine morning in a land of very gentle people, shouted in the public square. “My friends, I want her to be queen!” “I want to be queen.” She laughed and trembled. He talked to his friends about revelations, about trials ended. They swooned together one against the other.

And indeed, they were royalty the whole morning with people hanging red banners from their houses, and through the whole afternoon walking to the gardens of palms.

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