Robert Desnos, I've Dreamt of You So Often

  • Read by Amanda Edwards-Day, MA Creative Writing, Oxford Brookes University

    I've Dreamt of You So Often / J’ai tant rêvé de toi

     I’ve dreamt of you so often that you become unreal.
     Is there still time to reach this living body and to kiss on its mouth the birth ofthe voice so dear to me?
     I’ve dreamt of you so often that my arms used to embracing your shadow andonly crossing on my own chest might no longer meet your body's shape.
    And before the real appearance of what has haunted and ruled me for daysand years I would doubtless become a shadow.
    Oh the shifts of feeling.
    I’ve dreamt of you so often that it is doubtless no longer time for me to wake. I sleep standing, my body exposed to all the appearances of life and love and you,who only count today for me, I could touch your forehead and your lips less easily than any other lips and forehead.
    I’ve dreamt of you so often, walked, spoken, slept so often with your phantom that perhaps all that yet remains for me is to be a phantom among phantomsand a hundred times more shadow than the shadow which saunters and will saunter so gladly over the sundial of your life.

    Robert Desnos

    The poem is reproduced through the generosity of Jacques Fraenkel. This translation by Mary Ann Caws is used by her kind permission.