Monday, September 14, 2009


One of my all time favourite poems. Sunstone is a long poem by Mexican poet and Nobel laureate Octavio Paz. Here are a few lines from it. Please also read Paz's beautiful nobel acceptance speech here The word diaphanous appears in Paz's work frequently. Diaphanous means light and delicate, and almost transparent (fabric etc). I liked the word so much that I used it as an email id, and this blog takes it name from it too. Sunstone a crystal willow, a poplar of water, a tall fountain the wind arches over, a tree deep-rooted yet dancing still, a course of a river that turns, moves on, doubles back, and comes full circle, forever arriving: the calm course of the stars or an unhurried spring, water with eyes closed welling over with oracles all night long, a single presence in a surge of waves, wave after wave till it covers all, a reign of green that knows no decline, like the flash of wings unfolding in the sky... I travel your body, like the world, your belly is a plaza full of sun, your breasts two churches where blood performs its own, parallel rites, my glances cover you like ivy, you are a city the sea assaults, a stretch of ramparts split by the light in two halves the color of peaches, a domain of salt, rocks and birds, under the rule of oblivious noon, dressed in the color of my desires, you go your way naked as my thoughts, I travel your eyes, like the sea, tigers drink their dreams in those eyes, the hummingbird burns in those flames, I travel your forehead, like the moon, like the cloud that passes through your thoughts, I travel your belly, like your dreams, your skirt of corn ripples and sings, your skirt of crystal, your skirt of water, your lips, your hair, your glances rain all through the night, and all day long you open my chest with your fingers of water, you close my eyes with your mouth of water, you rain on my bones, a tree of liquid sending roots of water into my chest, I travel your length, like a river, I travel your body, like a forest, like a mountain path that ends at a cliff I travel along the edge of your thoughts, and my shadow falls from your white forehead, my shadow shatters, and I gather the pieces and go with no body, groping my way, (...) ...because two bodies, naked and entwined, leap over time, they are invulnerable, nothing can touch them, they return to the source, there is no you, no I, no tomorrow, no yesterday, no names, the truth of two in a single body, a single soul, oh total being... to love is to battle, if two kiss the world changes, desires take flesh thoughts take flesh, wings sprout on the backs of the slave, the world is real and tangible, wine is wine, bread regains its savor, water is water, to love is to battle, to open doors, to cease to be a ghost with a number forever in chains, forever condemned by a faceless master; the world changes if two look at each other and see... I follow my raving, rooms, streets, I grope my way through corridors of time, I climb and descend its stairs, I touch its walls and do not move, I go back to where I began, I search for your face, I walk through the streets of myself under an ageless sun, and by my side you walk like a tree, you walk like a river, and talk to me like the course of a river, you grow like wheat between my hands, you throb like a squirrel between my hands, you fly like a thousand birds, and your laugh is like the spray of the sea, you head is a star between my hands, the world grows green again when you smile, eating an orange, the world changes if two, dizzy and entwined, fall on the grass: the sky comes down, trees rise, space becomes nothing but light and silence, open space for the eagle of the eye, the white tribe of clouds goes by, and the body weighs anchor, the soul sets sail, and we lose our names and float adrift in the blue and green, total time where nothing happens but its own, easy crossing... —when was life ever truly ours? when are we ever what we are? we are ill-reputed, nothing more than vertigo and emptiness, a frown in the mirror, horror and vomit, life is never truly ours, it always belongs to the others, life is no one's, we all are life— bread of the sun for the others, the others that we all are— when I am I am another, my acts are more mine when they are the acts of others, in order to be I must be another, leave myself, search for myself in the others, the others that don’t exist if I don't exist, the others that give me total existence, I am not, there is no I, we are always us, life is other, always there, further off, beyond you and beyond me, always on the horizon, life which unlives us and makes us strangers, that invents our face and wears it away, hunger for being, oh death, our bread...
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