Selected Poems by Octavio Paz

By Octavio Paz

Choice of Paz's paintings during the many years from a variety of translators positioned out through New instructions. desk of contents is below.

Introduction ix
from BAJO TU CLARA s o m b r a / “U n d e r YOUR transparent s h a d o w
The chicken 1
Two our bodies 2
Poet’s epitaph 2
The highway 2
“The hand of day opens” 3
Fable 3
Native stone 4
Object lesson 5
In Uxmal 7
Riprap 8
from ¿AGUILA O SO L? /“EAGLE OR SUN?” (1949-1950)
The poet’s works III, IV, VII, XI, XII 10
The blue bouquet 12
Hurry 14
Plain 16
Capital 16
Obsidian butterfly 17
A poet 19
Huastec girl 19
Toward the poem 20
from los angeles ESTACION VIOLENTA/' THE VIOLENT SEASON” (1948-1957)
Hymn between the ruins 22
Is there no means out? 24
The river 27
Sun stone 29
from DIAS HABILES/ LAWFUL DAYS” (1958-1961)
Dawn 46
He re 46
Landscape 46
Certainty 47
from s a l a m a n d r a / ‘SAL a m a n d e r ’ (1958-1961)
Touch 48
Duration 48
Last sunrise 49
Salamander 50
from l a d e r a ESTE/' EAST s l o p e ” (1962-1968)
Happiness in Herat 55
Apparition 57
In the Lodi gardens 57
The different 58
Vrindaban 58
Village 63
Daybreak 63
Nightfall 64
On studying John Cage 64
Writing 67
Concord 68
Exclamation 68
Wind from all compass issues 69
Madrigal 74
With eyes closed 75
Transit 75
Maithuna 76
The key of water 80
Sunday on the island of Elephanta 80
b l a n c o (1966)
Blanco 82
from v u e l t a / r e t u r n (1969-1975)
The grove ninety two
Immemorial panorama ninety three
Trowbridge road 95
Objects and apparitions 97
Return 99
In the heart of this word . . . 103
The petrifying petrified 107
San Ildefonso nocturne 112
A draft of shadows 120
Fíame, speech 138
Sight, contact 139
Homage to Claudius Ptolemy 140
Stars and cricket 141
Wind and water and stone 141
Epitaph for no stone 142
This part 142
Author’s notes 143

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Are they nothing at all, the cries of men? does nothing happen in time but time passing? —nothing happens, only the fiickering eyelid of the great sun, hardly a movement, nothing, the unredeemable boundaries of time, the dead are all pinned down by their own dying, they cannot die again of another death, they are untouchable, locked in their gestures, and since their solitude and since their dying this only can they do: stare sightless at us, their death is simply the statue of their life, perpetual being and nothingness without end, for every moment is nothing without end, a king of fantasy regulates your pulse and your last gesture carves an impassive mask and lays that sculpture over your mobile face: we are the monument raised to an alien life, a life unlived, not lively, hardly ours.

Appearances are beautiful in this their m omentary truth. The sea mounts the coast, clings between the rocks, a dazzling spider; the livid wound on the m ountain glistens; a handful of goats becomes a flock of stones; the sun lays its gold egg upon the sea. All is god. A broken statue, columns gnawed by the light, ruins alive in a world of death in life! Night falls on Teotihuacán. On top of the pyramid the boys are smoking marijuana, harsh guitars sound. What weed, what living waters w ill give life to us, where shall we unearth the word, the relations that govern hymn and speech, the dance, the city and the measuring scales?

Decapitated pricks. A bird, dressed in black, flies in circles and rests on the only living tree on the plain. And then . . There is no then. I move forward, I pierce great rocks of years, great masses of compacted light, I go down into galleries of mines of sand, I travel corridors that cióse on themselves like granite lips. And I return to the plain, to the plain where it is always noon, where an identical sun shines fixedly on an unmoving landscape. And the ringing of the twelve bells never stops, ñor the buzzing of the flies, ñor the explosion of this m inute that never passes, that only burns and never passes.

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