Robert Desnos: “The Land”

The Land

I once dreamed of loving, and I still love today,
but love is no longer a sheaf of lilacs and roses
filling with fragrance a forest that encloses
a flame at the end of a blind alleyway.

I once dreamed of loving, and I still love today,
but love is no longer the lightning that imposes
its fire upon fortresses it ruins and exposes,
casting light on nothing but a parting of ways.

Now, love is the spark beneath my steps in the night,
a word that no dictionary will ever get right.
Foam upon the sea, a cloud I point at with my hand.

With age, things grow harder, yet more full of light.
Streets shed their names, knots come less tight.
And I too am becoming as unbending as the land.

Robert Desnos

Translated from French by Paul Weinfield, © 2015
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