Monday, August 07, 2006

Sunstone

This is one of the most powerful poems I have read, recommended by Dad, a post modernist poet and editor (sadly none of those genes got passed on :-( ).

To the inevitable loneliness of human beings and yet, the constant search for union with others ............... here's my favorite translation of Piedra de Sol (Sunstone) by Nobel laureate for literature, Mexican poet Octavio Paz.

Sun Stone

willow of crystal, a poplar of water,
a pillar of fountain by the wind drawn over,
tree that is firmly rooted and that dances,
turning course of a river that goes curving,
advances and retreats, goes roundabout,
arriving forever:
the calm course of a star
or the spring, appearing without urgency,
water behind a stillness of closed eyelids
flowing all night and pouring out prophecies,
a single presence in the procession of waves
wave over wave until all is overlapped,
in a green sovereignty without decline
a bright hallucination of many wings
when they all open at the height of the sky,

course of a journey among the densities
of the days of the future and the fateful
brilliance of misery shining like a bird
that petrifies the forest with its singing
and the annunciations of happiness
among the branches which go disappearing,
hours of light even now pecked away by the birds,
omens which even now fly out of my hand,

an actual presence like a burst of singing,
like the song of the wind in a burning building,
a long look holding the whole world suspended,
the world with all its seas and all its mountains,
body of light as it is filtered through agate,
the thighs of light, the belly of light, the bays,
the solar rock and the cloud-colored body,
color of day that goes racing and leaping,
the hour glitters and assumes its body,
now the world stands, visible through your body,
and is transparent through your transparency,

I go a journey in galleries of sound,
I flow among the resonant presences
going, a blind man passing transparencies,
one mirror cancels me, I rise from another,
forest whose trees are the pillars of magic,
under the arches of light I go among
the corridors of a dissolving autumn,

I go among your body as among the world,
your belly the sunlit center of the city,
your breasts two churches where are celebrated
the great parallel mysteries of the blood,
the looks of my eyes cover you like ivy,
you are a city by the sea assaulted,
you are a rampart by the light divided
into two halves, distinct, color of peaches,
and you are saltiness, you are rocks and birds
beneath the edict of concentrated noon

and dressed in the coloring of my desires
you go as naked as my thoughts go naked,
I go among your eyes as I swim water,
the tigers come to these eyes to drink their dreams,
the hummingbird is burning among these flames,
I go upon your forehead as on the moon,
like cloud I go among your imagining
journey your belly as I journey your dream,

your loins are harvest, a field of waves and singing,
your loins are crystal and your loins are water,
your lips, your hair, the looks you give me, they
all night shower down like rain, and all day long
you open up my breast with your fingers of water,
you close my eyelids with your mouth of water,
raining upon my bones, and in my breast
the roots of water drive deep a liquid tree,

I travel through your waist as through a river,
I voyage your body as through a grove going,
as by a footpath going up a mountain
and suddenly coming upon a steep ravine
I go the straitened way of your keen thoughts
break through to daylight upon your white forehead
and there my spirit flings itself down, is shattered
now I collect my fragments one by one
and go on, bodiless, searching, in the dark....

you take on the likeness of a tree, a cloud,
you are all birds and now you are a star,
now you resemble the sharp edge of a sword
and now the executioner's bowl of blood,
the encroaching ivy that over grows and then
roots out the soul and divides it from itself,

writing of fire on the slab of jade,
the cleft in the rock, serpent-goddess and queen,
pillar of cloud, and fountain struck from the stone,
the nest of eagles, the circle of the moon,
the seed of anise, mortal and smallest thorn
that has the power to give immortal pain,
shepherd of valleys underneath the sea
and guardian of the valley of the dead,
liana that hangs at the pitch of vertigo,
climber and bindweed and the venomous plant,
flower of resurrection and grape of life,
lady of the flute and of the lightning-flash,
terrace of jasmine, and salt rubbed in the wound,
a branch of roses for the man shot down,
snowstorm in August, moon of the harrowing,
the writing of the sea cut in basalt,
the writing of the wind upon the desert,
testament of the sun, pomegranate, wheat-ear....

life and death
are reconciled in thee, lady of midnight,
tower of clarity, empress of daybreak,
moon virgin, mother of all mother liquids,
body and flesh of the world, the house of death,
I have been endlessly falling since my birth,
I fall in my own self, never touch my depth,
gather me in your eyes, at last bring together
my scattered dust, make peace among my ashes,
bind the dismemberment of my bones, and breathe
upon my being, bring me to earth in your earth,
your silence of peace to the intellectual act
against itself aroused;
open now your hand
lady of the seeds of life, seeds that are days,
day is an immortality, it rises, it grows,
is done with being born and never is done,
every day is a birth, and every daybreak
another birthplace and I am the break of day,
we all dawn on the day, the sun dawns and
daybreak is the face of the sun....

gate of our being, awaken me, bring dawn,
grant that I see the face of the living day,
grant that I see the face of this live night,
everything speaks now, everything is transformed,
O arch of blood, bridge of our pulse beating,
carry me through to the far side of this night....

gateway of being: open your being, awaken,
learn then to be, begin to carve your face,
develop your elements, and keep your vision
keen to look at my face, as I at yours,
keen to look full at life right through to death,
faces of sea, of bread, of rock, of fountain,
the spring of origin which will dissolve our faces
in the nameless face, existence without face
the inexpressible presence of presences...

I want to go on, to go beyond; I cannot;
the moment scatters itself in many things,
I have slept the dreams of the stone that never dreams
and deep among the dreams of years like stones
have heard the singing of my imprisoned blood,
with a premonition of light the sea sang,
and one by one the barriers give way,
all of the gates have fallen to decay,
the sun has forced an entrance through my forehead,
has opened my eyelids at last that were kept closed,
unfastened my being of its swaddling clothes,
has rooted me out of my self, and separated
me from my animal sleep centuries of stone
and the magic of reflections resurrects
willow of crystal, a poplar of water,
a pillar of fountain by the wind drawn over,
tree that is firmly rooted and that dances,
turning course of a river that goes curving,
advances and retreats, goes roundabout,
arriving forever:


- Octavio Paz

2 comments:

the wag said...

Hey I thought I'd return the favour. Now I am SO not a poetry person... but it seems allt he people sissy associates with either are converts or are one themselves... so I shall play devil's advocate for this so mushy group...
Liked the poem though... For a change ...
Keep blogging... find that it retains sanity while affording pleasure...

inkognito said...

Dear Wag,

Welcome :)

Good to know you liked the poem....its very surrealistic and full of contrasting imagery. There are several translations of Piedra de Sol floating around, I really liked this one.

Yeah, hooked to this blogging thing now :) Writing, plus reading others blogs :))

Keep posting about D-Poo's latest adventures :))

Faces among faces

Acrylic (with knives only) on canvas