Hôtel des étincelles

Mark Dion, Ursus Maritimus

“It is the hour when the polar bear with the highly intelligent look Stretches himself and counts a day”
Mark Dion, Ursus Maritimus Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa.

Hotel of Sparks
by André Breton

The philosophical butterfly
Alights on the rosy star
And that makes a window in hell
The masked man is still standing in front of the naked woman
Whose hair glides like in the morning the light on a streetlamp that has not been extinguished
The learned furniture urges on the room that juggles
With its rose-windows
Its circular sunbeams
Its glass mouldings
Within which a geometric sky is turning blue
In memory of the inimitable breast
Now the cloud of a garden passes over the head of the man who has just sat down
And is cutting in two the woman with the bust of magic and the Parma eyes
It is the hour when the polar bear with the highly intelligent look
Stretches himself and counts a day
On the other side the rain rears up on the boulevards of a big city
Rain in fog with trails of sunlight on red flowers
Rain and the diabolo of bygone times
The legs under the cloud of fruit take a turn round the glasshouse
All you can see now is a very white hand its pulse marked by two tiny wings
The pendulum of absence swings between the four walls
Cleaving heads
From which escape bands of kings who immediately make war on one another
Until turquoise at the bottom of the cups
The oriental eclipse
Reveals the equilateral bed whose sheets are the color of guelder-roses
The charming side table the torn curtains
Close to a little book scrawled with these words No Tomorrow
Whose author bears a curious name
In the obscure codes of the earth

From André Breton, Selected Poems, trans. Kenneth White, Jonathan Cape: London, 1969.


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