Reprinted without permission. From The Immaculate Conception (1930), quoted in What is Surrealism? (1978).
Don’t read. Look at the designs created by the spaces between the words of several lines in a book and draw inspiration from them.
Give your hands to the others to keep.
Don’t lie down on the ramparts.
Take back the armour that you took off when you reached the age of discretion.
Put order in it’s place, disturb the stones of the road.
If you bleed and you are a man, erase the last word on the slate.
Form your eyes by closing them.
Let the dreams you have forgotten equal the value of what you do not know.
I have known a railway signalman, five female gatekeepers, and one male gatekeeper. And you?
Don’t prepare the words you cry out.
Live in abandoned houses. They have been lived in only by you.
Make a bed of your caresses for your caresses.
If they come knocking at the door, write your last will and testament with the key.
Rob sound of its sense; even light-colored dresses can hide muffled dreams.
Sing of the enormous pity of monsters. Evoke all the women standing on the Trojan horse.
Don’t drink water.
As with the letter l and the letter m, you’ll find the wing and the serpent near the middle.
Speak according to the madness that has seduced you.
Wear sparkling colors, it’s not usual.
What you find belongs to you only as long as you hold out your hand.
Lie as you bite the judges’ ermine.
You are the pruner of your life.
Hang yourself, brave Crillon, they’ll unhang you with their That depends.
Bind faithless legs.
Let the dawn stir the rust of your dreams.
Learn to wait with your feet in front of you. That’s the way you will soon go out, all covered up.
Light up the perspectives of fatigue.
Sell what you eat, buy what you need to die of starvation.
Surprise them by not confusing the future of the verb ‘to have’ with the past of the verb ‘to be.’
Be the glazier for the stone set in the new windowpane.
When they ask to see the inside of your hand, show them the veiled planets in the sky.
On the appointed day, you will calculate the lovely dimensions of the insect-leaf.
To expose the nakedness of the woman you love, look at her hands. She has lowered her face.
Separate the chalk from the coal, the poppies from the blood.
Do me the favour of entering and leaving on tiptoe.
Semicolons; you see how amazing they are, even in punctuation.
Lie down, get up, and now lie down.
Until further orders, until further religious orders, that is until the most beautiful girls adopt the cross-shaped decollete: the horizontal beam showing the breasts, the foot of the cross revealing the belly, whose base is slightly russet-brown in colour.
Forgo that which has a head on its shoulders.
Adjust your gait to that of the storms.
Never kill a nightbird.
Look at the convolvulus blossom: it does not allow one to hear.
Miss the obvious goal when you are supposed to peirce your heart with the arrow.
Perform miracles so as to deny them.
Be the age of the raven who says: Twenty years.
Beware of wagondrivers with good taste.
Sketch the disinterested games of your boredom in the dust.
Don’t seize the time to begin again.
Argue that your head, unlike a horse chestnut, is absolutely weightless, because it has not yet fallen.
Gild with the spark the otherwise black pill of the anvil.
Without wincing, imagine swallows.
Write the imperishable in sand.
Correct your parents.
Do not keep on your person anything that would wound common sense.
Imagine that that woman can be summed up in three words and that that hill is a chasm.
Seal the real love letters you write with a profaned host.
Don’t forget to say to the revolver: Delighted but it seems to me I’ve met you somewhere before.
The outside butterflies are trying only to rejoin the inside butterflies: don’t replace, in yourself, a single pane of the streetlamp if it should happen to get broken.
Damn what is pure – purity is damned in you.
Observe the light in the mirrors of the blind.
Do you want to own the smallest and the most alarming book in the world? Have the stamps on your love letters bound and then weep – you have good reason to, in spite of it all.
Never wait for yourself.
Look closely at these two houses: in one you are dead and in the other you are dead.
Think of me who am speaking to you; put yourself in my place when you answer.
Be afraid of passing too near the tapestries when you are alone and hear someone calling.
Wring out with your own hands your body over other bodies: accept this principle of hygiene courageously.
Eat only birds in leaf: the animal tree can stand autumn.
Your liberty with which you make me laugh till I cry is your liberty.
Make the fog flee before you.
Seeing that the mortal condition of things does not bestow on you an exceptional power of lasting, hang yourself by the root.
Leave it up to the stupid pillow to wake you.
Cut down trees if you wish, break stones too, but beware, beware of the livid light of utility.
If you look at yourself with one eye, close the other.
Don’t abolish the sun’s red rays.
You take the third street on the right, then the first on the left, you come to the square, you turn near that cafe you know, you take the first street on the left, then the third on the right, you throw your statue to the ground and you stay there.
Without knowing what you will do with it, pick up the fan that that woman dropped.
Knock on the door and cry, ‘Come in” – and don’t go in.
You have nothing to do before dying.