Arthur Rimbaud Bob Dylan

Arthur Rimbaud's birthday was October 20, 1854.

French poet Arthur Rimbaud was a prolific artist by the time he was a teenager. Equal parts bohemian, provocative, idealistic and avant-garde, his works inspired the songs of Dylan and helped launch an entirely new art form that we still use today.

From the very beginning, Arthur Rimbaud saw his chosen vocation as more of a spiritual calling. In his two letters titled "Lettres du voyant," a 16-year-old Rimbaud likened poets to "seers," and strived to become a seer himself by losing his own individual consciousness and being taken over by "the unknown." The unknown, in this case, being the music of the universe, the greater life force or divinity itself.

To reach this unknown, according to Rimbaud, would be the greatest achievement, "because he has cultivated his own soul—which was rich to begin with—more than any other man! … even if he ends up losing the understanding of his visions, at least he has seen them!"



Arthur Rimbaud helped create symbolist poetry Arthur Rimbaud helped create symbolist poetry. upload.wikimedia.org

To accomplish this task, he developed a creative process known as "disordering of all the senses," by exposing himself to fasting, pain, alcohol, drugs—any mind-altering substance or activity, basically. Which probably sounds like a typical artist. But you know, Rimbaud did it before it was cool.

Unconventional methods or not, they did open his mind up to creative innovation. In trying to encapsulate his dreamy visions in words, Rimbaud helped create an entirely new form of poetry that rejected the doctrines of realism and naturalism in what is now known as symbolism. In escaping the clutches of strict language patterns, Rimbaud allowed for a more formless poem structure, letting the images and their associations determine the poem's shape. Thus began the prose poem.

It's no wonder Dylan, a venerable creator of "vision music," has often cited Rimbaud as a favorite poet. "When I read those words the bells went off. It made perfect sense. I wished someone would have mentioned that to me earlier," he wrote in "Chronicles vol 1."

You can definitely see Rimbaud's influence in the lyrics of "Like a Rolling Stone," for instance. Though it's a fun rock anthem, the structure and word choices carry so much more meaning.

Bob Dylan - Like a Rolling Stone (Official Audio) www.youtube.com

At 17, Rimbaud wrote one of his now most famous works, "The Drunken Boat," which spins the story of a tipsy boat freed from constraint and succumbing to elemental forces … ostensibly bringing it all back to themes of traveling into the unknown. His work garnered the attention of well-regarded poet Paul Verlaine, and thus began a passionate and tumultuous love affair as rocky as the seas in Rimbaud's poem.

Patron-turned-lover Verlaine invited young Rimbaud to his home, which sparked a wild, drug induced, on-again-off-again romantic relationship between the two. The affair was so tumultuous and chaotic that Verlaine shot at Rimbaud in a drunken rage. Now that's quite a lovers' quarrel.

Paul Verlaine and Arthur Rimbaud began a torrid love affair Henri Fantin-Latour's "By the Table" depicted Paul Verlaine and Arthur Rimbaud and others. upload.wikimedia.org



Their bitter, final farewell gave way to a deeply existential crisis for Rimbaud, leaving him disillusioned on all his ideals, both personally and creatively, which he reflected in his work "Une saison en enfer," aka "A Season in Hell." In it, Rimbaud shares the hells of his chaotic attraction for Verlaine, as well as "the failure of his own overambitious aesthetic," according to Britannica. The book ends with a piece with the simple title "Adieu," which many conceive to be a goodbye to poetry itself, at least in the distinctive voice Rimbaud carved out for himself.

After that, silence. At least for his poetry. Rimbaud cast aside the philosophical unknown and instead opted for physical adventure, traveling to the Alps, visiting Egypt and eventually traveling back and forth to Africa under the employment of a coffee trader. Which to me feels like an old-timey way of giving up your beloved blog and going to work for Starbucks. Sad.

Rimbaud returned home to Paris only one last time before dying at the age of 37, from what at first appeared to be arthritis, then later was diagnosed as bone cancer. And just like that, the prodigious and prolific writer's life was cut short. But not without making a lasting impact on poetry.

In a poem titled "Alchemy of the Word," Rimbaud lamented his failures, writing "I flattered myself with the belief that I had invented a poetic language that, one day or another, would be understood by everyone." Like many true visionaries, Rimbaud never got to see that his dreams did in fact come to life.

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

A simple solution for all ages, really.

School should feel like a safe space. But after the tragic news of yet another mass shooting, many children are scared to death. As a parent or a teacher, it can be an arduous task helping young minds to unpack such unthinkable monstrosities. Especially when, in all honesty, the adults are also terrified.

Katelyn Campbell, a clinical psychologist in South Carolina, worked with elementary school children in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. She recently shared a simple idea that helped then, in hopes that it might help now.

The psychologist tweeted, “We had our kids draw pictures of scenery that made them feel calm—we then hung them up around the school—to make the ‘other kids who were scared’ have something calm to look at.”



“Kids, like adults, want to feel helpful when they feel helpless,” she continued, saying that drawing gave them something useful to do.

Keep Reading Show less

Alberto Cartuccia Cingolani wows audiences with his amazing musical talents.

Mozart was known for his musical talent at a young age, playing the harpsichord at age 4 and writing original compositions at age 5. So perhaps it's fitting that a video of 5-year-old piano prodigy Alberto Cartuccia Cingolani playing Mozart has gone viral as people marvel at his musical abilities.

Alberto's legs can't even reach the pedals, but that doesn't stop his little hands from flying expertly over the keys as incredible music pours out of the piano at the 10th International Musical Competition "Città di Penne" in Italy. Even if you've seen young musicians play impressively, it's hard not to have your jaw drop at this one. Sometimes a kid comes along who just clearly has a gift.

Of course, that gift has been helped along by two professional musician parents. But no amount of teaching can create an ability like this.

Keep Reading Show less