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Of the Flower of Love and the Wandering Horses
by Robert Desnos

In the forest lived a giant flower that risked killing all the trees with her love
The trees all loved her
Toward midnight the oaks became reptiles and crept up to her stem
The ashes and the poplars bent down toward her corolla
The ferns yellowed in her soil
And she was more radiant than the nightly love of the sea and the moon
More pale than the huge extinct volcanoes of this star
More sad and more nostalgic than the sand dried and soaked at the whim of the waves
I speak of the flower of the forest not of the tower
I speak of the flower of the forest not of my love
And if such a flower, more pale and nostalgic and adorable, loved by the trees and the ferns, keeps my breath on her lips, it's because we're of the same essence
I met her one day
I speak of the flower and not of the trees
In the forest shuddering when I passed
Welcome butterfly who died in her corolla
And you my rotting fern my heart
And you my eyes nearly ferns nearly coal nearly flame nearly wave
I speak in vain of the flower but of myself
The ferns have yellowed in the soil become like the moon
Like that exact instant in the agony of a bee lost between a cornflower and a rose and a pearl
The sky is not so closed
A man appears, chrysanthemum in his buttonhole, who gives his name and makes doors open
I speak of the impassive flower and not of the doors to adventure and solitude
One by one the trees died around the flower
Which fed on their decay
And that's why the plain became like the pulp of fruit
Why towns sprang up
A river at my feet winds and stops at my whim a string of welcoming imagery
Somewhere a heart stops beating and the flower straightens up
The flower whose fragrance triumphs over time
The flower that by itself revealed its existence to the plains naked like the moon like the sea like the sterile atmosphere of sad hearts
A bright red lobster claw lies beside a pot
The sun casts the shadow of the candle and the flame
The flower straightens up with pride in a sky of invention
Your nails my ladies are like its petals and red like them
The forest murmuring low lays open
A heart stopped like a dry spring
There's no more time no more time to love you who pass on your way
The forest flower whose story I tell is a chrysanthemum
The trees are dead the fields have turned green towns have appeared
The great wandering horses paw the ground in their faraway stables
Soon the great wandering horses leave
The towns watch the herd pass through their streets
whose cobblestones ring with the clack of their hooves and now and then glitter
The fields are dug up by that cavalcade
Tails dragging in the dust and nostrils smoking they pass by the flower
And for a long time their shadows remain
But what has become of the wandering horses whose speckled hides were a promise of misery
Sometimes while digging in the earth someone comes across a strange fossil
It's one of their horseshoes
The flower that saw them still grows without blemish or weakness
The leaves grow out along its stem
The ferns blaze and bend toward the windows of houses
But what has become of the trees
The flower why does it flower
Volcanoes! O volcanoes!
The sky falls in
I think of the faraway of the deepest within me
Vanished times are like nails broken on closed doors
In the country when a peasant is going to die surrounded by ripe fruit of the past season by the sound of frost cracking on the windowpanes by boredom withered fading like the cornflowers in the grass
The wandering horses appear
When a traveler loses his way in will-o-the-wisps more broken than the lines
in old people's foreheads and lies down on the moving earth
The wandering horses appear
When a young girl lies naked at the foot of a birch and waits
The wandering horses appear
They appear in a gallop of broken bottles and grating cupboards
They disappear into a hollow
No saddles have worn down their spines and their glistening rumps reflect the sky
They pass by spattering freshly plastered walls
And the frost cracking the ripe fruit the bare flowers the stagnant water
and the soft earth of marshes slowly changing shape
See the wandering horses pass

The wandering horses
The wandering horses
The wandering horses
The wandering horses


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