André Breton: “Always For the First Time”

Always For the First Time

Always for the first time
I barely know you by sight
You return at some hour of night to a house diagonal from my window
An imaginary house
Where from one second to the next
In perfect darkness
I wait for the magic splitting to happen
A single tear
In the wall and in my heart
The closer I get to you
In real life
The more the key sings in the door of an unknown room
Where you appear to me alone
Where you first melt into brilliant light
Into the stray angle of a curtain
Into the field of jasmine I saw at dawn on a road in the province of
Grasse
With the diagonal arc of the harvesting girls
Behind them the dark falling wing of plants stripped bare
Before them a square bracket of dazzling light
The curtain raised invisibly
The flowers all returning in fury
It is you face to face with an hour too long never dark enough for sleep
You as if you could be
The same except that I might never meet you
You pretend not to know I see you
Miraculously I’m no longer sure you do
Your lazy lingering fills my eyes with tears
A swarm of meanings surrounds each of your gestures
This is a hunt for honey
There are rocking chairs on a deck there are branches that will scratch you in the forest
There’s a shop window on Notre-Dame-de-Lorette Street
Two lovely crossed legs caught in stockings
Spreading out from the center of a great white clover
There’s a silk ladder rolled out across the ivy
There’s
A way that by gazing into the void and into your absence
I’ve found the secret
Of loving you
Always for the first time

André Breton

Translated from French by Paul Weinfield, © 2013
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