To sleep, with the moon in one eye and the sun in the other,
Love in your mouth, a lovely bird in your hair,
Adorned like the fields, the woods, the routes, the sea,
Around the whole world so lovely and adorned.
Flee across the landscape
Through branches of smoke and all the fruits of the wind,
Stone legs with sand stockings,
Held by the waist, all the river's muscles,
And the last concern on a face transformed.
(Translated by Mary Ann Caws and Patricia Terry.)
Paul Éluard's 1926 volume 'La Capitale de la Douleur' ('The Capital of Pain', or 'The Capital of Sorrow', depending on the translation of 'douleur') is considered one of the central texts of Surrealist poetry. It was also a source of inspiration for the film 'Alphaville' (see earlier post), which quotes extensively from it.
Éluard, a central figure in the Parisian Surrealist movement, wrote an incredible amount of poetry (see his bibliography), characterized by a great intensity and immediacy - though often bizarre and obscure as well. Like with other Surrealist art, his poetry is perhaps best experienced as a series of dream images to get lost in. As Éluard wrote in another poem: "I had my landscape and lost myself there."