Sans soleil

Or was it the other way around?
In San Francisco I made the pilgrimage of a film
I had seen nineteen times.

In Iceland I laid the first stone of an imaginary film.
That summer I had met three children on a road
and a volcano had come out of the sea.

Encore un coup de... *I don't know*
The American astronauts came to train before flying off to the moon,
in this corner of Earth that resembles it.

I saw it immediately as a setting for science fiction:
the landscape of another planet.

Or rather no, let it be the landscape of our own planet
for someone who comes from elsewhere, from very far away.

I imagine him moving slowly, heavily,
about the volcanic soil that sticks to the soles.

All of a sudden he stumbles,
and the next step it's a year later.

He's walking on a small path near the Dutch border
along a sea bird sanctuary.

That's for a start.
Now why this cut in time, this connection of memories?
That's just it, he can't understand.

He hasn't come from another planet,
he comes from our future,

Four thousand and one:
the time when the human brain has reached
the era of full employment.

Everything works to perfection,
all that we allow to slumber, including memory.

Logical consequence:
total recall is memory anesthetized.

After so many stories of men who had lost their memory,
here is the story of one who has lost forgetting,
and who—through some peculiarity of his nature—

instead of drawing pride from the fact and
scorning mankind of the past and its shadows,

turned to it first with curiosity and then with compassion.
In the world he comes from, to call forth a vision,
to be moved by a portrait,

to tremble at the sound of music,
can only be signs of a long and painful pre-history.

He wants to understand.