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

Saturn on the Horizon

Alchemical Woodcut
Alchemical Woodcut

Standing amongst the ruins, surveying the damage,
We look out towards the horizon and beyond:
I can sense you keening to tearaway and abscond,
Cross the frontiers of limitations and language,

While I think only of dream homes and suicide;
Neither of which are really an ideal solution,
But possess the terrifying charm of temptation
For surely separate destinies could then coincide:

Picture us speeding through the roaring night,
Drawn irresistibly towards the final destination,
A painted backdrop against a scorching light,

That blazes and burns to the point of desecration,
During these last moments would our love abide
While we to the vast universe vainly confide?

Mercury Rising

Alchemical Symbol

Now where are you at? Where have you gone to?
Now that I’ve need and I’m on the move,
Searching the city streets for a way to prove,
That I’m actually alive and as real as you.

But you know I’ve a thing (among other things)
For all the wayward waifs and straggling strays,
With all their tender brokenhearted ways,
It makes my blood surge and my soul to sing.

If I was to ever find you, run you to ground,
I would whisper in your ear a different story
In a new language, where out is in, up down,

And the darkest hour illuminates with glory,
Never again need we be lost and lonely,
If you promise that it’s all for my eyes only.

Divinatory Poems

Austin Osman Spare-Tarot-The Sun
Austin Osman Spare-Tarot-The Sun

1.
Strife is justice: perfect kiss, holy death,
golden ratio and mean, overflowing
cup filled with tears and other secretions
soon emptied however, drank to the last dregs
but still the thirst for love is not quenched.

2.
Wishing that the world was already burning,
all the better to build on the ruins
the man whose eyes blaze with the dying light
of a thousand million supernovas
tosses the match to start the conflagration.

3.
Like a character from an distant age
the chevalier cuts a tragic noble swath
captivating hearts and minds of all alike
but the attention means less than nothing
until that time amidst the crowds he sees

4.
You are the pearl, crowning perfection,
to possess you I desire ruination
I‘ll watch with delirious satisfaction
when you strike me with total destruction
for this pleasure is worth the damnation.

5.
It all adds up, the whole equals the sum
of its myriad variations and parts
you just have to stand at the right distance,
keep still, relax, the answer is apparent,
just will to dare to know the only Law.

Unreal Estates

The Fatal Temple-Giorgio De Chirico 1914
The Fatal Temple-Giorgio De Chirico 1914

The lassitude at the journey’s end
More tired now than before we left
Over there thoughts tend towards
The infinite, the eternal, the ineffable,
The sky and sleep, the deep and dreams,
Although we observe fleeting impressions
We cannot see things in their totality
We hear but we cannot comprehend
Once I was briefly mistaken for a native
But I am a true citizen of Nowhere

Resident only of wholly imaginary cities
Shimmered reflections in the mirror
Of the lake surrounded by mountains
An agent dealing in unreal estates,
The pregnant stillness before the flash,
The languid ease of definite uncertainty,
Hovering between three distinct stages
That could in the commotion and confusion
Of false memories and vanishing places
Merge and flow together inseparable.

Everybody loves the limpid sunlight
Causing the motes and angels to dance
But close the blinds, shut out beyond
And in the gloom come over to me,
Maybe we can step into that river again?