Translated from the French by Jules Lefèvre
The anemone who reigned over the sea
The anemone who reigned over the sea Still reigns this is understood But so little she is lost She is lost at the bottom of the seas She remembers her diamonds suspended in a rainbow suspended in the dew and the oysters yawn all around to offer her pearls But the anemone who reigned over the sea now hardly reigns at all and the iron anchor has bitten her cruelly and soon she will die.
The delicate cactus
The delicate cactus is a hell of a fellow is a famous good-for-nothing is a big oaf is a shoeless tramp is a pistol is an odd little rogue is odd is a clown naturally since it's a pistol is odd looking a troublemaker an admiral of the forests a pigskin general The terror of the sands The tenor for the deaf and mute but this does not settle his little affairs or well-being.
Robert Desnos was born in July 1900 in Paris. In the 1920’s, he was part of the vanguard of the literary surrealist movement with writers such as André Breton, producing eight books of poetry, including Language Cuit (1923) and Journal d’une apparition (1927). He also wrote several radio plays, including La Grande complainte de Fantômas (1933). He joined the Resistance during WWII and was later arrested. He died of typhoid in the Terezin concentration camp.
Jules Lefèvre lives in New Haven, Connecticut, and teaches middle school French. He also writes fiction and plays music. This is his first published translation.