The Voice of Robert Desnos
So like a flower and a current of air the flow of water fleeting shadows the smile glimpsed at midnight this excellent evening so like every joy and every sadness it is the midnight past lifting its naked body above belfries and poplars I call to me those lost in the fields old skeletons young oaks cut down scraps of cloth rotting on the ground and linen drying in farm country I call tornadoes and hurricanes storms typhoons cyclones tidal waves earthquakes I call the smoke of volcanoes and the smoke of cigarettes the rings of smoke from expensive cigars I call lovers and loved ones I call the living and the dead I call gravediggers I call assassins I call hangmen pilots bricklayers architects assassins I call the flesh I call the one I love I call the one I love I call the one I love the jubilant midnight unfolds its satin wings and perches on my bed the belfries and the poplars bend to my wish the former collapse the latter bow down those lost in the fields are found in finding me the old skeletons are revived by my voice the young oaks cut down are covered with foliage the scraps of cloth rotting on the ground and in the earth snap to at the sound of my voice like a flag of rebellion the linen drying in farm country clothes adorable women whom I do not adore who come to me obeying my voice, adoring tornadoes revolve in my mouth hurricanes if it is possible redden my lips storms roar at my feet typhoons if it is possible ruffle me I get drunken kisses from the cyclones the tidal waves come to die at my feet the earthquakes do not shake me but fade completely at my command the smoke of volcanoes clothes me with its vapors and the smoke of cigarettes perfumes me and the rings of cigar smoke crown me loves and love so long hunted find refuge in me lovers listen to my voice the living and the dead yield to me and salute me the former coldly the latter warmly the gravediggers abandon the hardly-dug graves and declare that I alone may command their nightly work the assassins greet me the hangmen invoke the revolution invoke my voice invoke my name the pilots are guided by my eyes the bricklayers are dizzied listening to me the architects leave for the desert the assassins bless me flesh trembles when I call the one I love is not listening the one I love does not hear the one I love does not answer.
By Robert Desnos, translated and edited by William Kulik, and published by Ecco Press in The Selected Poems of Robert Desnos. © 1991 by William Kulik. Used with Permission. All rights reserved.