The Voice of Robert Desnos

- 1900-1945
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
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
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.

Identity of Images

I am fighting furiously with animals and bottles
In a short time perhaps ten hours have passed one
   after another
The beautiful swimmer who was afraid of coral wakes
   this morning
Coral crowned with holly knocks on her door
Ah! coal again always coal
I conjure you coal tutelary genius of dreams and my
   solitude let me let me speak again of the beautiful
   swimmer who was afraid of coral
No longer tyrannize this seductive subject of my
The beautiful swimmer was reposing in a bed of lace
   and birds
The clothes on a chair at the foot of the bed were
   illuminated by gleams the last gleams of coal
The one that had come from the depths of the sky and 
   earth and sea was proud of its coral beak and great
   wings of crape
All night long it had followed divergent funerals toward
   suburban cemeteries
It had been to embassy balls marked white satin gowns with
   its imprint a fern leaf
It had risen terribly before ships and the ships had not 
Now crouched in the chimney it was watching for the 
   waking of foam and singing of kettles
Its resounding step had disturbed the silence of nights
   in streets with sonorous pavements
Sonorous coal coal master of dreams coal
Ah tell me where is that beautiful swimmer the swimmer
   who was afraid of coral?
But the swimmer herself has gone back to sleep
And I remain face to face with the fire and shall remain
   through the night interrogating the coal with wings of
   darkness that persists in projecting on my monotonous
   road the shadow of its smoke and the terrible 
   reflections of its embers
Sonorous coal coal pitiless coal

Identité des images

Je me bats avec fureur contre des animaux et des bouteilles
Depuis peu de temps peut-être dix heures sont
   passées l'une après l'autre
La belle nageuse qui avait peur du corail ce matin s'éveille
Le corail couronné de houx frappe à sa porte
Ah! encore le charbon toujours le charbon
Je t'en conjure charbon génie tutélaire du rêve et da ma
   solitude laisse-moi laisse-moi parler encore de la
   belle nageuse qui avait peur du corail
Ne tyrannise plus ce séduisant sujet de mes rêves
La belle nageuse reposait dans un lit de dentelles et d'oiseaux
Les vêtements sur une chaise au pied du lit étaient
   illuminés par les lueurs les dernières lueurs du charbon
Celui-ci venu des profondeurs du ciel de la terre et
   de la mer était fier de son bec de corail et de ses
   grandes ailes de crêpe
Il avait toute la nuit suivi des enterrements
   divergents vers des cimetières suburbains
Il avait assisté à des bals dans les ambassades
   marqué de son empreinte une feuille de fougère
   des robes de satin blanc
It s'était dressé terrible à l'avant des navires et les
   navires n'étaient pas revenus
Maintenant tapi dans la cheminée il guettait le
   réveil de l'écume et le chant des bouilloires
Son pas retentissant avait troublé le silence des
   nuits dans les rues aux pavés sonores
Charbon sonore charbon maître du rêve charbon
Ah dis-moi où est-elle cette belle nageuse cette
   nageuse qui avait peur du corail?
Mais la nageuse elle-même s'est rendormie
Et je reste face à face avec le feu et je resterai
   la nuit durant à interroger le charbon aux ailes
   de ténèbres qui persiste à projeter sur mon
   chemin monotone l'ombre de ses fumées et le 
   reflet terrible de ses braises
Charbon sonore charbon impitoyable charbon.

No, Love Is Not Dead

No, love is not dead in this heart these eyes and this mouth
that announced the start of its own funeral.
Listen, I've had enough of the picturesque, the colorful
and the charming.
I love love, its tenderness and cruelty.
My love has only one name, one form.
Everything disappears. All mouths cling to that one.
My love has just one name, one form.
And if someday you remember
O you, form and name of my love,
One day on the ocean between America and Europe,
At the hour when the last ray of light sparkles
on the undulating surface of the waves, or else a stormy night
beneath a tree in the countryside or in a speeding car,
A spring morning on the boulevard Malesherbes,
A rainy day,
Just before going to bed at dawn,
Tell yourself-I order your familiar spirit-that
I alone loved you more and it's a shame
you didn't know it.
Tell yourself there's no need to regret: Ronsard
and Baudelaire before me sang the sorrows
of women old or dead who scorned the purest love.
When you are dead
You will still be lovely and desirable.
I'll be dead already, completely enclosed in your immortal body,
in your astounding image forever there among the endless marvels
of life and eternity, but if I'm alive,
The sound of your voice, your radiant looks,
Your smell the smell of your hair and many other things
will live on inside me.
In me and I'm not Ronsard or Baudelaire

I'm Robert Desnos who, because I knew
and loved you,
Is as good as they are.
I'm Robert Desnos who wants to be remembered
On this vile earth for nothing but his love of you.

A la mysterieuse