restricted access Octavio Paz
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388 Spanish Octavio Paz (1914–98) Tomb of the Poet The book The glass The green obscurely a stalk The record Sleeping beauty in her bed of music Things drowned in their names To say them with the eyes In a beyond I cannot tell where Nail them down Lamp pencil portrait This that I see To nail it down Like a living temple Plant it Like a tree A god Crown it With a name Immortal Derisible crown of thorns— Speech! The stalk and its imminent flower Sun-sex-sun The flower without shadow In a beyond without where Opens Like the horizon Opens Immaculate extension Transparency which sustains things Octavio Paz 389  Fallen Raised up By the glance Held In a reflection Moons multiplied Across the steppe Bundle of worlds Instants Glowing bunches Moving forests of stars Wandering syllables Millennia of sand endlessly falling away Tide All the times of time TO BE A second’s fraction Lamp pencil portrait In a here I cannot tell where A name Begins Seize on it, plant it, say it Like a wood that thinks Flesh it A lineage begins In a name An adam Like a living temple Name without shadow Nailed Like a god In this here-without-where— Speech! I cease in its beginning 390 Spanish In this that I say I cease TO BE Shadow of an instantaneous name I shall never know my bond’s undoing Ustica The successive suns of summer,1 The succession of the sun and of its summers, All the suns, The sole, the sol of sols Now become Obstinate and tawny bone, Darkness-before-the-storm Of matter cooled. Fist of stone, Pinecone of lava, Ossuary, Not earth Nor island either, Rock off a rockface, Hard peach, Sun-drop petrified. Through the nights one hears The breathing of the cisterns, The panting of fresh water Troubled by the sea. The hour is late and the light, greening. The obscure body of the wine Asleep in jars 1. Ustica is a volcanic desert island in the Sicilian sea. It was a Saracen graveyard. Octavio Paz 391  Is a darker and cooler sun. Here the rose of the depths Is a candelabrum of pinkish veins Kindled on the sea-bed, Ashore, the sun extinguishes it, Pale, chalky lace As if desire were worked by death. Cliffs the colour of sulphur, High austere stones. You are beside me, Your thoughts are black and golden. To extend a hand Is to gather a cluster of truths intact. Below, between sparkling rocks Goes and comes A sea full of arms. Vertigos. The light hurls itself headlong. I looked you in the face, I saw into the abyss: Mortality is transparency. Ossuary: paradise: Our roots, knotted In sex, in the undone mouth Of the buried Mother. Incestuous trees That maintain A garden on the dead’s domain. Touch My hands Open the curtains of your being Clothe you in a further nudity 392 Spanish Uncover the bodies of your body My hands Invent another body for your body Friendship It is the awaited hour Over the table falls Interminably The lamp’s spread hair Night turns the window to immensity There is no one here Presence without name surrounds me. Dawn Cold rapid hands Draw back one by one The bandages of dark I open my eyes Still I am living At the centre Of a wound still fresh Here My steps along this street Resound In another street In which I hear my steps Passing along this street In which Only the mist is real Octavio Paz 393  Oracle The cold lips of the night Utter a word Column of grief No word but stone No stone but shadow Vaporous thought Through my vaporous lips real water Word of truth Reason behind my errors If it is death only through that do I live If it is solitude I speak in serving it It is memory and I remember nothing I do not know what it says and I trust myself to How to know oneself living How to forget one’s knowing Time that half-opens the eyelids And sees us, letting itself be seen. Certainty If it is real the white Light from this lamp, real The writing hand, are they Real, the eyes looking at what I write? From one word to the other What I say vanishes. I know that I am alive Between two parentheses. Charles Tomlinson, 1968 ...


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