Robert Desnos, the son of a café owner, was born on July 4, 1900, in Paris.
He attended commercial college, and then worked as a clerk before becoming a literary columnist for the newspaper Paris-Soir.
He first published poems in the Dadaist magazine Littérature in 1919, and in 1922 he published his first book, Prose Selavy, a collection of surrealistic aphorisms. While on leave in Morocco from his mandatory two years in the French Army, Desnos befriended poet Andre Breton. Together with writers Louis Aragon and Paul Eluard, Breton and Desnos would form the vanguard of literary surrealism.
They practiced a technique known as "automatic writing," and many hailed Desnos as the most accomplished practitioner. Breton, in the Manifesto of Surrealism, 1924, singled out Desnos for par ...
I Have Dreamed Of You So Much
I have dreamed of you so much that you are no longer real.
Is there still time for me to reach your breathing body, to kiss your mouth and make
your dear voice come alive again?
I have dreamed of you so much that my arms, grown used to being crossed on my
chest as I hugged your shadow, would perhaps not bend to the shape of your body.
For faced with the real form of what has haunted me and governed me for so many
days and years, I would surely become a shadow.
O scales of feeling.
I have dreamed of you so much that surely there is no more time for me to wake up.
I sleep on my feet prey to all the forms of life and love, and you, the only one who
counts for me today, I can no more touch your face and lips than touch the lips and
face of some passerby.
I have dreamed of you so much, have walked so much, talked so much, slept so much
with your phantom, that perhaps the only thing left for me is to become a phantom
among phantoms, a shadow a hundred times more shadow than the shadow the
moves and goes on moving, brightly, over the sundial of your life.