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OCTAVIO PAZ Translated By ROGER SKRENTNY SEA OF DAY Because of a single hair he splits his white veins, his sweet, hoarse chest, and shows green lips, frantic, nuptial. the dazzled foam. Because of a single hair. Because of that light in flight that parts the suspended wind in two on the day; the sea, two fixed seas, twin enemies; the broken universe showing its entrails, the sleepwalking forms that swim deep, blind, liorause of the thick waves of water and earth: the submarine seaweed of slow long hair, the vegetable octypus, roots, blind touches, innocent carbon, buried innocence in the first blindness. Because of that single thread, flame between my fingers, vibrant, slender sword that is lx>rn of my yolk and already losing its way, alone, lightning in restlessness, between the light and I. Because of a single hair the world has body. 28 MIRROR There is a night, a day, a hollow time, without witnesses, without tears, without bottom, without oblivion; a night of fingernails and silence, a cold plain without shores, island of ice between the days; a night without anyone but rather its multiplied solitude. It returns by some nightly, fluvatic lips, slow shores of coral and sap, of desire, erected like a flower under the rain, sleepless necklace of fire on the neck of night, or it returns from one to one's self, and among the dauntless mirrors a face repeats to my face, a face that masks my face. Facing the foppish games of the mirror my being is a funeral pile and ashes, it breathes and is ashes, and I burn and burn myself and shine and lie and I that clutches, dead, a dagger of smoke that feigns the evidence of the wound's blood and an I, my last I, that only asks oblivion, shadow, nothing, the final lie that ignites and burns it. About one mask on another there is always a last I that asks. And I sink into myself and do not touch me. 29 (UNTITLED) I. linder your clear shadow I live like the (lame on the air, in tense apprenticeship to the morning star. II. I have to speak of her to you. She who excites fountains during the day, she who the night builds out of marble. She is the same tranquility which breathes in her quiet vein: the trace of her foot is the visible center of the world, the lx>rdor of the world. subtle place, chained and free; disciple of birds and clouds that makes the sky scream; her voice, terrestrial dawn, announces the ransom of the waters to us, the return of fire, the twirl of corn, the first words of trees, the white monarchy of wings. She did not see the world lxirn, yet her blood ignites every night with the nocturnal blood of things and in its beating Ix'gins again the sound of the soas that I ift. the shores of the planet, a past of water and silence and the first forms offertile material. I have to speak of her to you: of a concealed metal, of a thirsty herb, of the compact silence of a shrub; of the invisible impetus of that which only lives like blood and breath. Of the silence of the world, of the tumult of the world. I have to speak of her to you. . . One dav I will be worth? 30 and my lips will say this noble ignorance, this fresh costume of being a simple hurricane, a tender branch. III. Look at the power of the world, Look at the power of the dust, look at the water. Look at the ashtrees in the silent circle, touch its kingdom of silence and sap, touch its skin of sun and rain and time, look at its green branches face the sky, hear its leaves singing like water. Look behind the cloud, that feathered cataract for the sky, anchored in the sealess space, high visible foam of invisible celestial currents. Look at the power of the world, look at its tense form, its beautiful inconsistency, luminous. Touch my skin, of mud, of diamond, hear my voice in subterranean fountains, look...


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