Sunday, May 22, 2011

On The Road To San Romano–Andre Breton

Poetry is made in a bed like love

Its rumpled sheets are the dawn of things

Poetry is made in woods

It has the space it needs

Not this one but the other whose form is lent it by

                 The eye of the Kite

                 The dew on a horsetail

                 The memory of a bottle frosted over on a silver tray

                  A tall rod of tourmaline on the sea

                  And the road of the mental adventure

                 That climbs abruptly

                 One stop and bushes cover it instantly

That isn’t to be shouted on the rooftops

It’s improper to leave the door open

Or to summon witnesses


                      The shoals of fish the hedges of titmice

                   The rails at the entrance of a great station

                   The reflection of both river banks

                   The crevices of bread

                   The bubbles of the stream

                   The days of the calendar

                    The St Johns wort


The acts of love and poetry

Are incompatible

With reading the newspaper aloud

                   The meaning of a sunbeam

                   The blue light between the hatchet blows

                   The bat’s thread shaped like a heart or a hoopnet

                   The beaver’s tails beating in time

                   The diligence of the flash

                   The casting of candy from the old stairs

                   The avalanche

The room of marvels

No dear sirs it isn’t the eighth Chamber

Nor the vapours of the roomful some Sunday evening 


                     The figures danced transparent above the pools

                   The outline on the wall of a woman’s body at


                   The bright spirals of smoke

                   The curls of your hair

                   The curve of the Philippine sponge

                   The swaying of the coral snake

                   The ivy entrance in the ruins

                    It has all the time ahead

The embrace of poetry like that of the flesh

As long as it lasts

Shuts out any glimpse of the misery of the world



Andre Breton (1896-1966 ) was a poet and critic and a leader of the surrealist movement. Born to a family of modest standing in Tinchebray, Orne Department Normandy, he went on to study medicine and psychiatry, working in a psychiatric ward   through  WW1.  During this period he met  a devotee of Alfred Jarry, Jacques Vache, whose attitude towards the social norms and disdain for the traditional artistic aesthetic  was a major influence on Breton. Later as a writer in Paris, Breton pioneered the anti-rationalist movements in art and literature known as Dadaism and surrealism, which was a reaction to the disillusionment with tradition, that  marked the post world war 1 era. Being a keen student of the works of Sigmund Freud, plus his experimentation with automatic writing led to him formulating his Surrealist theory, expressing his views in Literature, the leading surrealist periodical, which he co-founded and edited for many years. His best creative work is considered the novel Nadja (1928), based partly on his own experiences. His poetry, in Selected Poems (1948; trans. 1969), reflects the influence of the poets Paul Valery.


If you have a Poem/ Poet, you admire please introduce them to me.



Bellezza said...

I read this poem several times over before coming down to comment.

Usually, I read the first few lines of a poem and stop.

But, I think you're teaching me to appreciate them. To understand them. Certainly, to read them.

And you say the complexities of the female heart are as deep as he Mariana Trench. Surely this is true, but no more complex than a poet's, and a lot harder to carry around.

(Have you ever considered forming a poetry challenge or read-along? I'd love to partake.)

@parridhlantern said...

Hi Bellezza, thanks for your comment as to something concerning I've been umming & arhhing with the idea & am going to try something to judge the interest levels soon.
But your interest is duly noted.

gina said...

I'm going to second Bellezza's comment about a poetry challenge. As you have experienced first-hand, I am not great at following challenges, formal or not, but feel that I'm lacking in the poetry department and would love to round that out a bit. Which I could do on my own but what's the point of the internet if not community.