Dust

Hokusai-The Tengu Goddess, Mystical Bird 1760

For a few seconds a stray sunbeam
Makes visible the dance of dust motes
Swaying, trembling, swooning then falling
I have been granted a glimpse
Of harmony in the floating world
For the moment I am deeply content
Eyelids heavy, chin dropping towards chest
I dream of angels in a distant Heaven
Languidly embracing in the shallows
Of a limpidly becalmed pool.

Interchangeable Dreams

Flowers and butterflies-Attributed to Ma Quan 18th Century

I dreamt that I was a butterfly
Reality is always retreating
Bidding adieu in the mirror

Who dreams that she was a man
An eternal regress,
Recess set within infinite recesses

From long ago and very far away
A vanishing point
Seemingly out of reach

Whose own dream poised a question
Maybe the way is to walk,
Fly in the wrong direction.

I Have So Often Dreamed Of You

Lee Miller-Man Ray 1929

Robert Desnos was in many ways the archetypal surrealist spirit. Involved in Paris Dada he was in the literary vanguard of Surrealism and possessed an extra-ordinary talent for automatic writing during the Trance Period, rivalled only by Rene Crevel. Desnos, like many others, fell out with Andre Breton and joined the group centred around Georges Bataille and his magazine Documents and he was one of the signers of the anti-Breton polemic Un Cadavre.

During WWII Desnos was an active member of the French Resistance and he was captured by the Gestapo in 1944. He was deported to Auschwitz, then Buchenwald and finally Theresienstadt where he would die a few weeks after the camp’s liberation from typhoid.

I Have So Often Dreamed Of You

I have so often dreamed of you that you become unreal.
Is it still time enough to reach that living body and to kiss
on that mouth the birth of the voice so dear to me?
I have so often dreamed of you that my arms used as they are
to meet on my breast in embracing your shadow would
perhaps not fit the contour of your body.
And, before the real appearance of what has haunted and ruled
me for days and years, I might become only a shadow.
Oh the weighing of sentiment,
I have so often dreamed of you that there is probably no time
now to waken. I sleep standing, my body exposed to all the
appearances of life and love and you, who alone still
matter to me, I could less easily touch your forehead and
your lips than the first lips and the first forehead I
might meet by chance.
I have so often dreamed of you, walked, spoken, slept with your
phantom that perhaps I can be nothing any longer than a
phantom among phantoms and a hundred times more shadow
than the shadow which walks and will walk joyously over
the sundial of your life.

Translation Mary Ann Caws

Home

Rene Magritte-Personal Values 1952
Rene Magritte-Personal Values 1952

Now that I am older the sound
Of the drumbeats grows louder,
Though the source becomes forever
Fainter, filtered by vague remorse,
Impossible longing for a home
That I have only visited in dreams.

I am a child again in these dreams
Attracted by the source of sound,
A woman calling me to go home:
At my silence she calls out louder
I stay still, filled with a sullen remorse
I could stand there like a stature forever.

If only we could build up bridges forever;
Break it on down like we do in dreams,
Then drop deeper without any remorse
To caverns filled with reverberating sound
Booming like my echoing heart louder
As it realises you can never go home.

For that is where the hatred lies, at home,
The source of afflictions that fester forever,
Over the years voices raised louder,
The only peace found in feverish dreams
With swirling fragments of whispered sound,
In the morning glare a cause of distinct remorse.

Though being human is cause enough for remorse,
For we are restless, searching for a lost home
And every time we speak or utter a sound
Lies the possibility of doing damage forever;
With no resolution to be found even in dreams
Drowning out soothing voices with noises louder.

The din and banging grows ever louder,
Deadening the heart with poisonous remorse,
Seeping even into the sanctuary of dreams:
So I pray for a solitary glimpse of a home
Where I can find comfort and rest forever
Show me a symbol, give me a sign or a sound

Quieter rather than louder, pointing to a reposeful home
Where I banish remorse, to which I say goodbye forever
And let wash over me dreams, that lull with a sea sound.

Suite Dreams Seconded Six Times To Come Almost Full Circle

Max Ernst-La Femme 100 têtes-1929
Max Ernst-La Femme 100 têtes-1929

1.
My elder sister, perturbation,
indulge me,
heedless and headless
rushing towards paradise,
sinister utopia, blissed out
burning hell.

2.
We call to St. Satan Esq: among others,
Prince of Liars, Lord of this World and all its Works,
louche lounger, adolescent rebel par excellence,
horny old goat stroking your neatly trimmed beard,
He who comes and goes, ever toing and froing:
to grant us a show of a little sympathy.

3.
Walking down the avenue,
only a few more
blocks to cross:
but these streets are constantly changing,
losing my bearings,
I call out, where have you gone?

4.
There is a way if you have the requisite will,
dive deep, immerse yourself in the elements,
there is freedom in surrendering to immensity,
being your virgin canvas, empty page, tabula rasa
onto which you scrawl all your needs, wants and desires,
fill the void inside with a phantom of substance.

5.
Swamp of dreams,
Paris, Rome, Toyko, maybe London,
shimmering visions
of eternal decadence:
what a rotten tooth is to love are
you to me.

6.
Parabolas, delirious paranoid constructions,
the sweep and curve of vast cosmic conspiracies.
Something’s not right, something is askew and aslant,
counterfeit currency passed along in a dream,
unveiling the secrets of a banal mystery
ultimate truth is vicious, yet deeply inane.