André Breton: “Tournesol/Sunflower”

sunflowers-at-sunset-jamesc2

TOURNESOL
La voyageuse qui traverse les Halles à la tombée de l’été
Marchait sur la pointe des pieds
Le désespoir roulait au ciel ses grands arums si beaux
Et dans le sac à main il y avait mon rêve ce flacon de sels
Que seule a respirés la marraine de Dieu
Les torpeurs se déployaient comme la buée
Au Chien qui fume
Ou venaient d’entrer le pour et le contre
La jeune femme ne pouvait être vue d’eux que mal et de biais
Avais-je affaire à l’ambassadrice du salpêtre
Ou de la courbe blanche sur fond noir que nous appelons pensée
Le bal des innocents battait son plein
Les lampions prenaient feu lentement dans les marronniers
La dame sans ombre s’agenouilla sur le Pont-au-Change
Rue Git-le-Coeur les timbres n’étaient plus les mêmes
Les promesses de nuits étaient enfin tenues
Les pigeons-voyageurs les baisers de secours
Se joignaient aux seins de la belle inconnue
Dardés sous le crêpe des significations parfaites
Une ferme prospérait en plein Paris
Et ses fenêtres donnaient sur la voie lactée
Mais personne ne l’habitait encore à cause des survenants
Des survenants qu’on sait plus dévoués que les revenants
Les uns comme cette femme ont l’air de nager
Et dans l’amour il entre un peu de leur substance
Elle les intériorise
Je ne suis le jouet d’aucune puissance sensorielle
Et pourtant le grillon qui chantait dans les cheveux de cendres
Un soir près de la statue d’Étienne-Marcel
M’a jeté un coup d’oeil d’intelligence
André Breton a-t-il dit passe

André Breton (b. 19 February 1896)

Photo: Sunflowers at Sunset by James*C

SUNFLOWER
The traveller who crossed Les Halles at summer’s end
Tiptoed as she walked
Despair stirred in the sky its great lilies so lovely
And in her purse she had my dream that bottle of salts
That only God’s godmother had breathed
Torpors were spreading like mists
At the Smoking Dog
The Pro and Con had just dropped in
And the young woman could be seen by them but badly and in profile
Was I dealing with the Ambassadress of saltpeter
Or of the white curve on a black background that we call thought
The Ball of the Innocents was in full swing
The lanterns were slowly catching fire in the chestnut trees
The shadowless girl knelt down on the Pont au Change
Rue Git-le-Coeur things no longer rang with the same note
The promises of the nights had at last been kept
The homing pigeons and the emergency kisses
Were clustering round the breasts of the lovely unknown girl
That stood out beneath the veil of perfect meaning
A farm was prospering in the heart of Paris
And its windows looked out on the Milky Way
But nobody lived in it because of the guests
The guests that are more faithful one knows than ghosts
Those like that woman seem to be swimming
And there is in love some of their substance
She makes them part of herself
I am the plaything of no sensory power
Yet the cricket that chirped in the locks of cinders
Close to the statue of Étienne Marcel
Gave me a look of intelligence
André Breton he said may pass here.

Translation by Edouard Roditi

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~ by matt on 19 February 2009.

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