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Robert Desnos

(1900 - 1945 / Paris)

Ebony Life


A frightening stillness will mark that day
And the shadow of streetlights and fire-alarms will exhaust the light
All things, the quietest and the loudest, will be silent
The suckling brats will die
The tugboats the locomotives the wind will glide by in silence
We will hear the great voice which coming from far away will pass over the city
We will wait a long time for it
Then at the rich man's time of day
When the dust the stones the missing tears
form the sun's robe on the huge deserted squares
We shall finally hear the voice.
It will growl at doors for a long while
It will pass over the town tearing up flags and breaking windowpanes.
We will hear it
What silence before it, but still greater the silence
it will not disturb but will hold guilty will brand and denounce
Day of sorrows and joys
The day the day to come when the voice will pass over the city
A ghostly seagull told me she loved me as much as I loved her
That this great terrible silence was my love
That the wind carrying the voice was the great revolt of the world
And that the voice would look kindly on me.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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