Monday, March 29, 2004

A day of Desnos

Another extant translation of mine, plus a link to a Kenneth Rexroth translation of another poem by Desnos, plus a link to one of my poems & an outtake.

1. Robert Desnos' Poem for the Mysterious Woman

I have dreamt so much of you
that you lose your reality.
Is there still time to touch that living body
     & to kiss on its mouth the birth
     of the voice that is so dear to me?
I have dreamt so much of you
that my arms, grown accustomed to crossing
     each other on my chest as I embrace
     your shadow, might perhaps be unable
     to hold & enfold your body;
&, confronted with the actual presence
     of that which haunts me & has
     ruled me for days, for years,
I would, without doubt, become a shadow.
O sentimental scales in which we balance.
I have dreamt so much of you that it must
     be past the time for me to wake.
     Though standing / I am asleep, my body
     open to all appearances of life & love; &
     you, the only one who matters to me today -
     I am less likely to touch your face & lips
than the first lips & face that come along.
I have dreamt so much of you
walked so much, talked, slept with your ghost
     that there only remains to me perhaps, for
     all that, to be ghost amongst the
     ghosts & shadow a hundred times more
     than the shadow which walks & will
     walk gaily on the sundial of your life.

2. In Memorium: Robert Desnos

3. Robert Desnos' Last Poem, translated by Kenneth Rexroth

4. In Memorium: R.Desnos - an alternate outtake

You spent so many years in dreams
of her; & only in that concentration
camp - a shade among the shades
you called yourself - did you despair
& think you'd lost her. & yet
in that brief poem that they found
upon your dying body, the poem
starting once again with most
of those same words, she is so close
her nearness must have blinded you.

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