Anthology · Classic · Collection · Existentialism · Latin-American Culture · Latin-American Literature · Mexican Culture · Mexican Literature · Poetry · Surrealism

Octavio Paz

A Draft of Shadows

desire turns us into ghosts.
We are vines of air on trees of wind,
a cape of flames
invented and devoured by flame.
The crack in the tree trunk:
sex, seal, serpentine passage
closed to the sun and to my eyes,
open to the ants.

That crack was the portico
of the furthest reaches of the seen and thought:
—there, inside, tides are green,
blood is green, fire green,
green stars burn in the black grass:
the green music of elytra
in the fig tree’s pristine night;
—there, inside, fingertips are eyes,
to touch is to see, glances touch,
eyes hear smells;
—there, inside is outside,
it is everywhere and nowhere,
things are themselves and others,
imprisoned in an icosahedron
there is a music weaver beetle
and another insect unweaving
the syllogisms the spider weaves,
hanging from the threads of the moon;
—there, inside, space
is an open hand, a mind
that thinks shapes, not ideas,
shapes that breathe, walk, speak, transform
and silently evaporate;
—there, inside, land of woven echoes,
a slow cascade of light drops
between the lips of the crannies:
light is water; water, diaphanous time
where eyes wash their images;
—there, inside, cables of desire

Octavio Paz, The Collected Poems, 1957-1987. Eliot Weinberger (Editor), Elizabeth Bishop (Translator) New Directions (April 17, 1991) Originally published 1987.

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