Poets Walk: "we all walk it"

Poets Walk: "we all walk it"

Location on Poets Walk Map: 6


Passage from Nocturno de San Ildefonso by Octavio Paz


Between seeing and making,

                                                contemplation or action,

I chose the act of words:

                                         to make them, to inhabit them,

to give eyes to the language.

                                               Poetry is not truth:

it is the resurrection of presences,

                                                       history

transfigured in the truth of undated time.

Poetry,

            like history, is made;

                                              poetry,

like truth, is seen.

                              Poetry:

                                          incarnation

of the-sun-on-the-stones in a name,

                                                          dissolution

of the name in the beyond of stones.

Poetry,

              suspension bridge between history and truth,

is not a path toward this and that:

                                                        it is to see

the stillness in motion,

                                     change

in stillness.

                  History is the path:

it goes nowhere,

                            we all walk it,

truth is to walk it.

                             We neither go nor come:

we are in the hands of time.

                                              Truth:

to know ourselves,

                                from the beginning,

                                                                hung.

Brotherhood over the void.


Octavio Paz, excerpt from ""San Ildefonso nocturne"" from Collected Poems 1957-1987. Copyright © 1986 by Octavio Paz and Eliot Weinberger. Used by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.