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Paul Eluard

We currently have eight poems by Paul Eluard from a new translation. Published by Black Scat Books. You can listen to them all one after the other using the playlist below or if you prefer you can click the links further down to read a specific poem whilst listening to it.
Translated by R J Dent
Translation Copyright © R J Dent (2023)

Read and listen to Impatient

So sad about his miscalculations
That he writes his numbers upside down
And falls asleep.

A more beautiful woman
And never found,
Searched for rose-tinted ideas when barely fifteen years old,
Laughed without knowing it, never paid a compliment
To the youths of her time.

Going to meet
What it was that passed by
The other day,

the woman who was bored,
Hands hanging down,
Under a cloud.

The lamp lit up the violations of the storm
On beautiful days in August without fail,
The caressing one kissed the air, her companion’s cheeks,

Closed her eyes
And like leaves in the evening
Vanished over the horizon.

Read and listen to In the Heart of My Love

A beautiful bird shows me the light
It’s in his eyes, in full view.
It sings on a ball of mistletoe
In the middle of the sun.

The eyes of singing animals
And their songs of boredom or rage
Forbade me to get out of bed.
I’ll spend my entire life there.

Dawn in graceless lands
Looks like oblivion.
And if a deeply-moved woman falls asleep, at dawn,
Her head-first, headlong fall illuminates her.

You know the shape of her head.
Here everything grows dark:
Blushing, the landscape completes itself,

The large forms shrink and sink into my heart
With sleep.
And who intends to take away my heart?

I have never dreamed of such a beautiful night.
The women in the garden are trying to kiss me—
Pillars of the sky, the motionless trees
Embrace the shadows that support them.

A woman with a pale heart
Put the night inside her clothes.
Love has discovered the night
On her impalpable breasts.

How can one enjoy everything?
Better to erase everything.
The man who moved in all directions,
Sacrificed everything and conquered everything
Sleeps. He sleeps, he sleeps, he sleeps.
He erases the tiny, invisible night with his sighs.

He is neither cold nor hot.
His prisoner has escaped—to sleep.
He isn’t dead, he’s sleeping.

When he fell asleep
Everything surprised him,
He played ardently,
He looked,
He heard.

His last words:
“If I started over, I’d meet you without looking for you.”
He sleeps, he sleeps, he sleeps.
Dawn tried to lift its head,
He sleeps.

Read and listen to One More Reason

The lights in the air,
The air on a tower half faded, half bright,
Bring the children in,
All the greetings, the kisses, the thanks.

Around her mouth
Her laughter is always different,
It’s pleasure, it’s desire, it’s torment,
She’s crazy, she’s a flower, a Creole passing by.

Her nudity, never the same.
I am very ugly.
In the time of kindness, snows, solicitous herbs,
Crowds of snows,

An epoch of fixed times,
Of the supple satins of statues.
The temple has become a fountain
And the hand usurps the heart.

To love me, you must have known me then,
so sure of the future.

Read and listen to Perfect

A miracle of fine sand
Pierces leaves and flowers
Blooms in fruit
And fills the shadows.

Everything is finally divided
Everything is distorted and lost
Everything breaks and disappears
Death without consequences.

Light no longer holds light
Star of heat ravenous ventilation
It renounces colors
It renounces a face

A silent blind person
Identical and empty everywhere.

Read and listen to Poems

You had only to harvest the heart on the tree,
Smiles and laughter, laughter and sweetness beyond meaning.
Defeated, victorious and luminous, pure as an angel,
Up into the sky, with the trees.

In the distance groans a beauty who longs to fight,
And who can’t, lying there at the foot of the hill.
And whether the sky is dark or transparent
And everyone who sees her loves her.

The days are bending their fingers.
The flowers are withered, the seeds are lost,
Heatwaves await the great white frosts.

In the eye of the poor dead man. Painting on porcelain.
Music, bare white arms.
The winds and the birds unite—the sky changes.

Read and listen to Round

Under a sun that arose from the landscape
A woman runs away
Her legs overtake her shadow
And inside herself she has the most mysterious of hopes.

I find her naïve no doubt in love
At the intersection of assembled paths
Light concentrated to a point
And impossible movements

The large door of the face
With its plans discussed adopted
Emotions derived from thought
The journey in disguise and the arrival of reconciliation

The large door of the face
The sight of precious gems
The change from weakest to strongest.

Read and listen to Sequence

Sleep with the moon in one eye and the sun in the other,
Love in your mouth, a beautiful bird in your hair,
Dressed like the fields, the woods, the roads and the sea,
Beautiful and adorned like the world tour.

Flee across the landscape,
Among the branches of smoke and all the fruits of the wind,
Stone legs with sand stockings,
Held at the waist, all the river’s muscles,
And the last concern on a transformed face.

Read and listen to Speak

I am happy that I have an easy beauty.
I glide over the roof of the winds
I glide over the roof of the seas
I get sentimental
I don’t know who’s in power anymore
I no longer drape silk over mirrors
I’m sick of flowers and pebbles
I adore everything that is Chinese
I love the naked fluttering of birds
I am old but here I am beautiful
And the shadow that descends from the window’s depths
Every evening spares the black heart of my eyes.

Paul Eluard - 1895 - 1952

Was born Eugène Émile Paul Grindel a French poet and one of the founders of the Surrealist movement.

In 1916, he chose the name Paul Éluard, a matronymic borrowed from his maternal grandmother. He adhered to Dadaism and became one of the pillars of Surrealism by opening the way to artistic action politically committed to the Communist Party.

During World War II, he was the author of several poems against Nazism that circulated clandestinely. He became known worldwide as The Poet of Freedom and is considered the most gifted of French surrealist poets.

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