J’ai rêvé tellement fort de toi…

J’ai rêvé tellement fort de toi…

zhay ray-vay TELL-mah FORE duh twah… Click below to hear the entire poem!

I have dreamed so hard about you…

This is the first line of a beautiful poem by Robert Desnos, one of the French surrealist poets: Le Dernier poème (luh dare-neeYAY po-EMM, The Last Poem). It was, quite literally, his last poem, written shortly before his death by typhus on June 8, 1945 in the concentration camp of Terezin.

Today I give you, quite simply, the poem with my translation. In my next post, I’ll tell you something about it.

Le Dernier Poème

J’ai rêvé tellement fort de toi,
J’ai tellement marché, tellement parlé,
Tellement aimé ton ombre,
Qu’il ne me reste plus rien de toi.

Il me reste d’être l’ombre parmi les ombres
D’être cent fois plus ombre que l’ombre
D’être l’ombre qui viendra et reviendra dans ta vie ensoleillée

The Last Poem

I have dreamed so hard about you,
I’ve walked so much, talked so much,
Loved your shadow so much
That I have nothing left of you.

It remains for me to be the shadow among the shadows
To be a hundred times more shadow than the shade
To be the shadow that comes and goes in your sun-filled life.


3 responses to “J’ai rêvé tellement fort de toi…

  1. “hard “is really not good-“strongly” or even “so much” would be better. And “reviendra” means to re-viens-to come again or to return
    -come back .The line should be …That comes and comes again…. There is no sense of “goes” in that line.

    • Hello, Edward. Thank you for your comments. Regarding “viendra et reviendra”, I can buy “comes and comes again”. I still like “hard” for “fort”, because it conveys both strength and difficulty. It does sound a bit odd in English, but that’s the difficulty of translation, isn’t it? I don’t like the rhythm with “strongly”. As for “shade”, I stand by that translation. I believe that Desnos is making a pun, using the two meanings of “ombre”. And “shade” also evokes the dead in the Greek underworld. Desnos will be a shadow, darker than shade (a shadow IS shade, but he intensifies the darkness with this comparison), and he knows he will be dead. And yet he will be present in her life.

  2. and why did you use “shade”? The word is clearly “shadow” .Just as Desnos used “ombre” multiple times for emphasis-so should the translation use “shadow”. Using “shade”breaks the intended emphasis.

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