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Best Famous Robert Desnos Poems

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by Robert Desnos | |

Dove in the Arch

 Cursed!
be the father of the bride
of the blacksmith who forged the iron for the axe
with which the woodsman hacked down the oak
from which the bed was carved
in which was conceived the great-grandfather
of the man who was driving the carriage
in which your mother met your father.


by Robert Desnos | |

Cascade

 What sort of arrow split the sky and this rock?
It's quivering, spreading like a peacock's fan
Like the mist around the shaft and knot less feathers
Of a comet come to nest at midnight.
How blood surges from the gaping wound, Lips already silencing murmur and cry.
One solemn finger holds back time, confusing The witness of the eyes where the deed is written.
Silence? We still know the passwords.
Lost sentinels far from the watch fires We smell the odor of honeysuckle and surf Rising in the dark shadows.
Distance, let dawn leap the void at last, And a single beam of light make a rainbow on the water Its quiver full of reeds, Sign of the return of archers and patriotic songs.


by Robert Desnos | |

I Have Dreamed of You so Much

 I have dreamed of you so much that you are no longer real.
Is there still time for me to reach your breathing body, to kiss your mouth and make your dear voice come alive again? I have dreamed of you so much that my arms, grown used to being crossed on my chest as I hugged your shadow, would perhaps not bend to the shape of your body.
For faced with the real form of what has haunted me and governed me for so many days and years, I would surely become a shadow.
O scales of feeling.
I have dreamed of you so much that surely there is no more time for me to wake up.
I sleep on my feet prey to all the forms of life and love, and you, the only one who counts for me today, I can no more touch your face and lips than touch the lips and face of some passerby.
I have dreamed of you so much, have walked so much, talked so much, slept so much with your phantom, that perhaps the only thing left for me is to become a phantom among phantoms, a shadow a hundred times more shadow than the shadow the moves and goes on moving, brightly, over the sundial of your life.


by Robert Desnos | |

Fairy Tale

 Many times upon a time
There was a man who loved a woman.
Many times upon a time There was a woman who loved a man.
Many times upon a time There was a man and there was a woman Who did not love the ones who loved them.
Once upon a time Perhaps only once A man and a woman who loved each other.


by Robert Desnos | |

Ebony Life

 A frightening stillness will mark that day
And the shadow of streetlights and fire-alarms will exhaust the light
All things, the quietest and the loudest, will be silent
The suckling brats will die
The tugboats the locomotives the wind will glide by in silence
We will hear the great voice which coming from far away will pass over the city
We will wait a long time for it
Then at the rich man's time of day
When the dust the stones the missing tears
form the sun's robe on the huge deserted squares
We shall finally hear the voice.
It will growl at doors for a long while It will pass over the town tearing up flags and breaking windowpanes.
We will hear it What silence before it, but still greater the silence it will not disturb but will hold guilty will brand and denounce Day of sorrows and joys The day the day to come when the voice will pass over the city A ghostly seagull told me she loved me as much as I loved her That this great terrible silence was my love That the wind carrying the voice was the great revolt of the world And that the voice would look kindly on me.


by Robert Desnos | |

Under Cover of Night

 To slip into your shadow under cover of night.
To follow your footsteps, your shadow at the window.
That shadow at the window is you and no one else; it's you.
Do not open that window behind whose curtains you're moving.
Shut your eyes.
I'd like to shut them with my lips.
But the window opens and the breeze, the breeze which strangely balances flame and flag surrounds my escape with its cloak.
The window opens: it's not you.
I knew it all along.


by Robert Desnos | |

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 | |

The Ring of Stars

 In order to make a star with five branches
Where six would have been the same
A circle must first be drawn
In order to make a star with five branches .
.
.
A ring! One did not take so many precuations In order to make a tree from many branches Trees that hide the stars Trees! You, full of nests and song birds Covered with branches and leaves That you lift as far as the stars!


by Robert Desnos | |

Sleep Spaces

 In the night there are of course the seven wonders
of the world and the greatness tragedy and enchantment.
Forests collide with legendary creatures hiding in thickets.
There is you.
In the night there are the walker's footsteps the murderer's the town policeman's light from the street lamp and the ragman's lantern There is you.
In the night trains go past and boats and the fantasy of countries where it's daytime.
The last breaths of twilight and the first shivers of dawn.
There is you.
A piano tune, a shout.
A door slams.
A clock.
And not only beings and things and physical sounds.
But also me chasing myself or endlessly going beyond me.
There is you the sacrifice, you that I'm waiting for.
Sometimes at the moment of sleep strange figures are born and disappear.
When I shut my eyes phosphorescent blooms appear and fade and come to life again like fireworks made of flesh.
I pass through strange lands with creatures for company.
No doubt you are there, my beautiful discreet spy.
And the palpable soul of the vast reaches.
And perfumes of the sky and the stars the song of a rooster from 2000 years ago and piercing screams in a flaming park and kisses.
Sinister handshakes in a sickly light and axles grinding on paralyzing roads.
No doubt there is you who I do not know, who on the contrary I do know.
But who, here in my dreams, demands to be felt without ever appearing.
You who remain out of reach in reality and in dream.
You who belong to me through my will to possess your illusion but who brings your face near mine only if my eyes are closed in dream as well as in reality.
You who in spite of an easy rhetoric where the waves die on the beach where crows fly into ruined factories, where the wood rots crackling under a lead sun.
You who are at the depths of my dreams stirring up a mind full of metamorphoses leaving me your glove when I kiss your hand.
In the night there are stars and the shadowy motion of the sea, of rivers, forests, towns, grass and the lungs of millions and millions of beings.
In the night there are the seven wonders of the world.
In the night there are no guardian angels, but there is sleep.
In the night there is you.
In the daylight too.


by Robert Desnos | |

Long Long Ago

 Long long ago I went through the castle of leaves
Yellowing slowly in the moss
And far away barnacles clung desperately to rocks in the sea
Your memory better still your tender presence was there too
Transparent and mine
Nothing had changed but everything had aged at the same rate as my temples and
my eyes
Don't you just love that platitude? Let me go it's so rare for me this ironic
satisfaction
Everything had aged except your presence
Long long ago I went through the surf on a lonely day
The waves were unreal even then
The hulk of the shipwreck you knew about - remember that night of storms and
kisses? - was it a ship or a delicate woman's hat rolled by the wind in the spring
rain? - was there too
After that its happiness and dancing in the hawthornes!
The aperitifs had changed the names and colors
Of the rainbows framing the mirrors.
Long long ago you loved me.