Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Choose Life

Choose life instead of those prisms with no depth even if their colors are purer
Instead of this hour always hidden instead of these terrible vehicles of cold flame
Instead of these overripe stones
Choose this heart with its safety catch
Instead of that murmuring pool
And that white fabric singing in the air and the earth at the same time
Instead of that marriage blessing joining my forehead to total vanity's
                                               Choose life



Choose life with its conspiratorial sheets
Its scars from escapes
Choose life choose that rose window on my tomb
The life of being here nothing but being here
Where one voice says Are you there where another answers Are you there
I'm hardly here at all alas
And even when we might be making fun of what we kill
                                               Choose life



Choose life choose life venerable Childhood
The ribbon coming out of a fakir
Resembles the playground slide of the world
Though the sun is only a shipwreck
Insofar as a woman's body resembles it
You dream contemplating the whole length of its trajectory
Or only while closing your eyes on the adorable storm named your hand
                                               Choose life



Choose life with its waiting rooms
When you know you'll never be shown in
Choose life instead of those health spas
Where you're served by drudges
Choose life unfavorable and long
When the books close again here on less gentle shelves
And when over there the weather would be better than better it would be free yes
                                               Choose life



Choose life as the pit of scorn
With that head beautiful enough
Like the antidote to that perfection it summons and it fears
Life the makeup on God's face
Life like a virgin passport
A little town like Pont-á-Mousson
And since everything's already been said
                                               Choose life instead

Credit


From Andre Breton: Selections edited by Mark Polizzoti. Copyright © 2003. Reprinted by permission of University of California Press. "Choose Life" translated by Zack Rogow and Bill Zavatsky. All rights reserved.

Author


André Breton

Andre Breton was born in France in 1896 and worked in psychiatric units during World War I. In 1924 he published the Surrealist Manifesto, which defines surrealism and is considered to be the beginning of the Surrealist Movement. Breton died in 1966.

Date Published: 2003-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/choose-life