in honor of wearing my i love yoko tshirt
and rebelling against corporate attire guidelines.
Claude Monet, Camille on Her Death Bed, 1879
“… One day, when I was at the death bed of a woman who had been and still was very dear to me, I caught myself, my eyes fixed on her tragic forehead, in the act of mechanically analysing the succession of appropriate color gradations which death was imposing on her immobile face. Tones of blue, of yellow, of grey, what have you? This is the point I had reached. Certainly it was natural to wish to record the last image of a woman who was departing forever. But even before I had the idea of setting down the features to which I was so deeply attached, my organism automatically reacted to the color stimuli, and my reflexes caught me up in spite of myself, in an unconscious operation which was the daily course of my life – just like an animal turning his mill.”
No, love is not dead in this heart these eyes and this mouth
that announced the start of its own funeral.
Listen, I’ve had enough of the picturesque, the colorful
and the charming.
I love love, its tenderness and cruelty.
My love has only one name, one form.
Everything disappears. All mouths cling to that one.
My love has just one name, one form.
And if someday you remember
O you, form and name of my love,
One day on the ocean between America and Europe,
At the hour when the last ray of light sparkles
on the undulating surface of the waves, or else a stormy night
beneath a tree in the countryside or in a speeding car,
A spring morning on the boulevard Malesherbes,
A rainy day,
Just before going to bed at dawn,
Tell yourself-I order your familiar spirit-that
I alone loved you more and it’s a shame
you didn’t know it.
Tell yourself there’s no need to regret: Ronsard
and Baudelaire before me sang the sorrows
of women old or dead who scorned the purest love.
When you are dead
You will still be lovely and desirable.
I’ll be dead already, completely enclosed in your immortal body,
in your astounding image forever there among the endless marvels
of life and eternity, but if I’m alive,
The sound of your voice, your radiant looks,
Your smell the smell of your hair and many other things
will live on inside me.
In me and I’m not Ronsard or Baudelaire
I’m Robert Desnos who, because I knew
and loved you,
Is as good as they are.
I’m Robert Desnos who wants to be remembered
On this vile earth for nothing but his love of you.
A la mysterieuse
(painting: By the Deathbed E. Munch)