The “dictates of thought” (or something else?) that Surrealism originally wanted to submit and remit itself to by way of the form of writing called “automatic,” I’ve said how much diciness in waking life the (active-passive) hearing of them is exposed to. Of immense value, therefore, to me have always been those phrases or parts of phrases, scraps of monologue or dialogue extracted from sleep and retained without possible error inasmuch as their articulation and intonation remain clear on waking—waking they seem to produce because one would say they come precisely to be uttered. As sibylline as they are, every time I can I’ve culled them with every consideration owed to precious stones. There was a time when I set them unpolished at the start of a text (“The Automatic Message”, and others). That way I imposed on myself the task of “going on” with them, though it were in an altogether different register, on condition that what was to follow held closely to them at last and participated in their very high degree of effervescence. From one of these phrases with a particularly beautiful allure of sentence: “There will always be a shovel to the wind in the sands of dream,” in 1943 I fashioned a long poem: “States General,” which is doubtless the one I’m fondest of. Even if “the shadow’s mouth” hasn’t spoken to me with nearly the same generosity as to Hugo and even contents itself with disjointed remarks, the main thing is it has indeed wished at times to whisper me words which for me remain the touchstone, which I ascertain are addressed to me alone (inasmuch as there I recognize, though quite limpid and raised to incantatory power, my own voice) and which, as discouraging as they are to literal interpretation, on the emotive plane were made to give me A.


December 1960




H2O3 whose lapping skin resides in C major like a mean.



Night of October 27/28, 1951.





The moon begins where cherry ends with lemon.



Night of February 6/7, 1953.





Thus one will compose a journal whose signature, complicated and nervous, will be a nickname.



Night of May 11/12, 1953.





If you’re alive golden white bison, don’t make the cut of golden white bison.


Night of April 11/12, 1956.






André Breton, tr. C. Mulrooney