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I've Dreamed of You So Much -- Robert Desnos

Guest poem sent in by
(Poem #1339) I've Dreamed of You So Much
 I've dreamed of you so much that you're losing your reality.
 Is it already too late for me to embrace your literal, living and breathing
 physical body
 and to kiss that mouth which is the birthplace of that voice which is so dear
 to me?
 I've dreamed of you so much that my arms--which have become accustomed to
 lying crossed upon my own chest after attempting to encircle your
 shadow--might not be able to unfold again to embrace the contours of your
 literal form, perhaps
 So that coming face-to-face with the actual incarnation of what has haunted me
 and ruled me and dominated my life for so many days and years
 Might very well turn me into a shadow.
 Oh equilibriums of the emotional scales!
 I've dreamed of you so much that it might be too late for me to ever wake up
 I sleep on my feet, body confronting all the usual phenomena of life and love
 and yet
 when it comes to you--you, the only being on the planet who matters to me
 I can no more touch your face and lips than I can those of the next random
 I've dreamed of you so much, have walked and talked and slept so much with
 phantom presence that perhaps the only thing left for me to do now
 Is to become a phantom among phantoms, a shadow a hundred times more shadowy
 than that shifting shape which moves and which will go on moving,
 stepping lightly and happily across the sundial of your life.
-- Robert Desnos
          (Translated by Michael Benedikt)

This poem by Robert Desnos was originally written in French in 1926.  I
translated this piece at the age of 16 during my 4th year of French Studies
in high school in North America.  Now in my 30's, I recently found the
tattered remnants of my romantic schoolgirl translation buried within the
pages of a book where I first discovered my heartfelt love and proclivity
for the written word.  Ironically, the words, the images and the idea of the
"one" as written by Robert Desnos -- which attracted me then -- haunt me

Despite the yearning inherent in the impressionable adolescence of a
hesitant, yet  emerging young poet -- also a student of French -- I find I
like my version (below) best.  But then, I have so many dreams of.....

'Poem to the Mysterious'

(translated by )

  I have so many dreams of you,
  that you lose your reality
  Is it too late to reach for your living, breathing body,
  and lower my mouth over the birthplace
  of a voice so dear to me?

  I have so many dreams of you,
  that my arms--accustomed to embracing only shadows--
  will cross themselves over my chest
  and will not unfold again if not perhaps around
  the contours of your very body.

  And until your actual appearance in my life
  --the ideal of the person who haunts and leads
  me through the days and the years--
  I too will become a shadow,
  without direction or sentimental balance

  I have so many dreams of you,
  that I may never wake up again.
  I sleep at will, exposing my life to love and to you,
  the only one that matters to me now.
  Would that I be able to touch your forehead and lips,
  and not those of a one who randomly crosses my path.

  I have so many dreams of you,
  so walked upon, talked about and slept with your haunting image, that there
    is no remedy but to be,
  a ghost among the ghosts.
  And I'd rather be this shadow one hundred times over,
  than the phantom shape that walks and
  will walk happily over the sundial of your life.


Biography of Desnos:

And one of Benedikt:

47 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Flower Child said...

Does anyone know where I can find this in the original French?


Alkemygirl said...

Here it is Sonya. In French!


> J'ai tant rêvé de toi que tu perds ta réalité. Est-il encore temps
d'atteindre ce corps vivant et de baiser sur
> cette bouche la naissance de la voix qui m'est chère? J'ai tant rêvé de toi
> que mes bras habitués en étreignant ton ombre à se croiser sur ma poitrine
> ne se plieraient pas au contour de ton corps, peut-être. Et que, devant
> l'apparence réelle de ce qui me hante et me gouverne depuis des jours et des
> années, je deviendrais une ombre sans doute.O balances sentimentales.
> J'ai tant rêvé de toi qu'il n'est plus temps
> sans doute que je m'éveille.
> Je dors debout, le corps exposé à toutes
> les apparences de la vie et de l'amour
> et toi, la seule qui compte
> aujourd' hui pour moi,
> je pourrais moins
> toucher ton front et tes
> lèvres que les premières lèvres
> et le premier front venu. J'ai tant
> rêvé de toi, tant marché,
> parlé, couché avec
> ton fantôme qu'il ne me
> reste plus peut-être, et
> pourtant, qu'à être fantôme
> parmi les fantômes et plus
> ombre cent fois que
> l'ombre qui se
> promène et se
> promènera
> allégrement
> sur le cadran
> solaire de ta vie.

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