By Larry Fyffe
Considering poet Arthur Rimburd as a precursor thereof, Andre Breton comes to lead the Surrealist Movement, an offshoot of absurdist anti-bourgeois Dadaism, and he attempts to reconcile the thoughts of Sigmund Freud and with those of Karl Marx. His poems depict the social contradictions experienced by ordinary people imprisoned by the supposedly ‘rational’ rules of capitalist economics.
To this end, ‘Tweedle-Dum’ Breton arranges words not in a standardized format, but by using a ‘stream of consciousness’ technique that produces images that flow, yet are fragmented, like the dreams of the subconscious when the conscious mind is asleep.
My wife with eyes full of tears With eyes of purple panoply, and of a magnetic needle My wife with eyes of water to be drunk in prison
(Andre Breton: Freedom Of Love)
Singer/songwriter/musician Bob Dylan tones Breton’s poetry down a bit:
Ramona, come closer Shut softly your watery eyes .... Your magnetic movements Still capture the minutes I'm in
(Bob Dylan: To Ramona)
‘Tweedle-Dee’ Jacques Prevert dwells on the fluidly thought processes of childhood being dammed up by socializing institutions(Lawrence Ferlinghetti translates the poem below):
At each mile Each year Old men with closed faces With gestures of reinforced concrete
(Jacques Prevert: The Straight And Narrow)
Bob Dylan too is concerned with the restrictive roles placed upon the young:
May your heart always be joyful May your song always be sung May you stay forever young
(Bob Dylan: Forever Young)
The French poet, who writes the screenplay for the Romantic drama ‘Children Of Paradise’, laments the loss of the mysterious imaginings of the young. Below Jacques Prevert, in translation, correlates the emotion of sorrow with objects man-made, and from the world of Nature:
Dead leaves are picked up by the shovel Memories and regrets too And the north wind carries them away In the cold night oblivion See, I haven't forgotten The song you used to sing to me
(Jacques Prevert: Dead Leaves)
A poem immortalized in a famous song:
Since you went away, the days grow long And soon I'll hear old winter's song But I'll miss you most of all, my darling When autumn leaves start to fall
(Bob Dylan: Autumn Leaves ~ Prevert/Kosma/Mercer)
A Canadian musician, and singer/songwriter, criticizes Dylan for his being a ‘plagiarist’ even as she sings:
I've looked at love from both sides now From give and take, and still somehow It's love's illusions I recall I really don't know love at all ..... I've looked at life from both sides now From win and lose, and still somehow It's life's illusions I recall I really don't know life at all
(Joni Mitchell: Both Sides Now)
But, albeit in translation, there’s:
We love, and we live We live, and we love And we don't really know What life is And we don't really know What the day is And we don't really know What love is
(Jacques Prevert: Song)
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