Translated from the French by Stuart Dischell
_ _Like a hand at the moment of death and shipwreck
it rises like the last beams of the setting sun,
so from all places your glances spring.
_ _There is not enough time, there is not enough time
perhaps for me to see,
_ _But the leaf that falls and the wheel that turns you
will say nothing is perpetual above earth,
_ _Except love,
_ _And I want to be convinced.
_ _Some salvage boats paint reddish colors,
_ _Some storms vanish,
_ _And old waltz that sweeps away time and the wind
during slow intervals of sky.
_ _Me, I don’t want the others who clasp at what I aspire
_ _And kill the rooster’s song.
_ _Like a hand at the moment of death it shrinks, my
_ _I will never cry because I know you.
_ _I love my love too much to cry.
_ _You will cry over my grave.
_ _Or me over yours.
_ _It won’t be too late.
_ _I’ll lie. I’ll say you were my mistress,
_ _And then it really is so useless,
_ _You and me, soon we will die.
Robert Desnos (1900–1945) was a French Surrealist poet. He is credited with eight volumes of poetry and the film L’Étoile de Mer, in collaboration with artist Man Ray. Much of his poetry has also been set to music. (6/2010)
Stuart Dischell is the author of Children with Enemies (University of Chicago Press, 2017), as well as Good Hope Road, a 1991 National Poetry Series Selection (Viking, 1993); Evenings & Avenues (Penguin, 1996); Dig Safe (Penguin, 2003); and Backwards Days (Penguin, 2007). Dischell’s poems have been published in journals such as The Atlantic, The New Republic, AGNI, Slate, The Kenyon Review, and in anthologies including Essential Pleasures, Hammer and Blaze, The Pushcart Prize, and Good Poems. A recipient of awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the North Carolina Arts Council, and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, he teaches in the MFA program in creative writing at University of North Carolina Greensboro. He is a contributing editor of AGNI. (updated 4/2019)