2013 Poetry Month #11 – Poems from Andres Breton


The following are a couple of selections from Andres Breton, a French writer born in 1896.  He is credited with being the founder of the surrealist movement in writing, defined as “expression through undirected thought and day-dreaming”.

These are taken from the collection “Poems of Andres Breton”, published in 2006 by Black Widow Press.

Love in Parchment

When the windows like the jackal’s eye and desire pierce the dawn, silken windlasses lift me up to suburban footbridges. I summon a girl who is dreaming in the little gilded house; she meets me on the piles of black moss and offers me her lips which are stones in the rapid river depths. Veiled forebodings descend the buildings’ steps. The best thing is to flee from the great feather cylinders when the hunters limp into the sodden lands. If you take a bath in the watery patterns of the streets, childhood returns to the country like a greyhound. Man seeks his prey in the breezes and the fruits are drying on screens of pink paper, in the shadow of the names overgrown by forgetfulness. Joys and sorrows spread in the town. Gold and eucalyptus, similarly scented, attack dreams. Among the bridles and the dark edelweiss subterranean forms are resting like perfume bottle stoppers.

Grade Crossing

With one wave of the wand it had been flowers
And blood
The ray of light settled on the frozen window
No one
Puff it became clear that space was spilling out
Then the air pillow slipped under the sainfoin
The avalanches perked up their heads
And inside the stones shoulders rose up
Eyes were still closed in the mistrustful water
From the depths arose the triple collar
That was to become the pride of the wardrobe
And the cicadas’ song picked up its ticket
At the station still wrapped in all its strings
The woman was biting into a steam apple
On the knees of a large white beast
In the workshops on the silent benches
The moon’s plane smoothed out the cutting sheets
And the millstone spit out its butterflies
On the very edge of the paper I am writing on

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