Tuesday, August 20, 2013

"No, Love Is Not Dead," Robert Desnos


No, Love Is Not Dead

No, love is not dead in this heart and these eyes and this mouth which
announced the beginning of its burial.
Listen, I have had enough of the picturesque and the colorful and the
I love love, its tenderness and cruelty.
My love has but one name, but one form.
All passes. Mouths press against this mouth.
My love has but one name, but one form.

Robert Desnos

Translated by Mary Ann Caws

Robert Desnos


O pangs of love!
How necessary you are to me and how dear you are to me.
My eyes closing on imaginary tears, my hands endlessly straining toward the void.
Last night I dreamed of crazy landscapes and dangerous exploits from death’s perspective and life’s perspective, which are also love’s perspective.
On waking you were here, O pangs of love, O muses of the desert, O exacting muses.
My laughter and joy crystallize around you. It’s your makeup, it’s your powder, it’s your rouge, it’s your snakeskin handbag, it’s your silk stockings . . . and it’s also that little fold between your ear and the nape of your neck, where your neck begins, it’s your silk slacks and your sheer nightie and your fur coat, your round tummy my laughter and joy your feet and all your jewels.
To tell the truth, how well-dressed you are and how smartly decked out.
O pangs of love, exacting angels, there I go imagining you in the same image as the one I love, mistaking you for her . . .
O pangs of love, you which I create and dress, you confuse yourself with the one I love, of whom I only recognize the clothes and the eyes, the voice, the face, the hands, the hair, the teeth, the eyes . . .

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