L'anneau de Moebius
Le chemin sur lequel je cours
Ne sera pas le même quand je ferai demi-tour
J'ai beau le suivre tout droit
Il me ramène à un autre endroit
Je tourne en rond mais le ciel change
Hier j'étais un enfant
Je suis un homme maintenent
Le monde est une drôle de chose
Et la rose parmi les roses
Ne ressemble pas à une autre rose.
The road I run along
today is not the same one
I set out upon, and went straight on
it takes me back beyond where I’d begun
I've come round but the sky
is not the same. Yesterday I
was a child now I am a man
the world grows, a shifting design
and every single rose, you’ll find
is different than the rose in mind.
Translated by Holly Woodward
Robert Desnos was a French surrealist poet who fought in the Résistance during the Nazi occupation. The Gestapo arrested and deported him to Auschwitz, then Buchenwald, Flossenburg, and Terezin.
One day, Desnos and other prisoners were taken in the back of a flatbed truck; they knew the truck was going to the gas chamber; no one spoke. Soon the truck stopped and the guards ordered them off. When they began to move toward the gas chamber, suddenly Desnos jumped out of line and grabbed the hand of the woman in front of him. He was animated and he began to read her palm. He told her that she would have a long life, many grandchildren, abundant joy. A person nearby offered his palm to Desnos. Here, too, Desnos foresaw a long life filled with happiness and success. The other prisoners came to life, eagerly thrusting their palms toward Desnos and, in each case, he foresaw long and joyous lives.
The guards became visibly disoriented. Minutes before, they were on a routine mission the outcome of which seemed inevitable, but now they became tentative. Desnos was so effective in creating a new reality that the guards were unable to go through with the executions. They ordered the prisoners back onto the truck and took them back to the barracks. Desnos never was executed.
Desnos died in "Malá pevnost", which was an inner part of Terezín used only for political prisoners, from typhoid, only weeks after the camp's liberation. The poems he wrote during his imprisonment were accidentally destroyed after his death.