Last Year At Marienbad (Alan Resnais, 1961)

A. Van Jordan

Last Year At Marienbad, A. Van Jordan
From The Cineaste

A place, though visible, is like a ghost
of memories. Even memories one forgets
linger in the space in which they occurred.
Here within the expanse of vaulted ceilings,


doorways leading to more doors, hallways
leading to more halls, the faintest recollections
absorb over time; no act will wholly evanesce.


Wander over the carpets and marble floors,
and the echoes of bygone eras endure,
wafting through corridors


like a perfume pulsing on a woman’s neck.
What should one make of what happens
or doesn’t through a night between lovers?


And if the space awakens in a man or a woman
some thing they would not find the inner charge
to commit in their own bedroom,


should they forget? Embrace this longing?
This couple, let’s say, met last summer at a château
soiree, and they made love or they thought


about making love to each other. If they did make love,
well, they’re adults, they’ll turn to each other
in memory, forever waiting there for each other; they will


always have this place and time. If one evening
this couple, which is not really a couple,
lies together in one room while their lovers wait


upstairs or at home; if they both thought about making love
to each other, while glancing across a crowded room….
Well, why would anyone try to forget that?


Again and again, the moment is captured
in one’s mind, but try to prove it happened,
and details retreat into darkness.


Again and again, footsteps get absorbed by carpets,
so thick, so heavy…Oh, how moments call, but better senses
abate any emerging pleasure. One may even convince


the body, against the will, that such moments were made
to linger around, only awakened by the promise of possibility.