Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Octavio Paz was friends with Pablo Neruda, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez until they fell apart over their political views.

In 1976, he wrote:
Between what I see and what I say
Between what I say and what I keep silent
Between what I keep silent and what I dream
Between what I dream and what I forget:

Paz came to India in 1951 for the first time, and returned in 1962 as Mexican ambassador to India. In the next six years, Indian history, culture and mythology had a deep impact on him. His concepts, his style changed. "Maithuna" comes from that period where he experimented with spaces, structure of his lines etc, and even wrote poems in shapes of pyramids, hanging words etc.

So here's Maithuna

Translated from the Spanish by Eliot Weinberger

My eyes discover you
and cover you
with a warm rain
of glances
A cage of sounds
to the morning
than your thighs
at night
your laughter
and even more your foliage
your blouse of the moon
as you leap from bed

Sifted light
the singing spiral
reals-in whiteness
planted in a chasm

My day
in your night
Your cry
leaps in pieces
your body
washing under
your bodies
Your body once again

Vertical hour
spins its flashing wheels
Garden of knives
feast of deceit
Through these reverberations
you enter
the river of my hands


Quicker than fever
you swim in the darkness
your shadow clearer
between caresses
your body blacker
You leap
to the bank of the improbable
toboggans of how when because yes
Your laughter burns your clothes
your laughter
wets my forehead my eyes my reasons
Your body burns your shadow
You swing on the trapeze of fear
the terrors of your childhood
watch me
from your cliffhanging eyes
making love
at the cliff
Your body clearer
Your shadow blacker
You laugh over your ashes


Burgandy tongue of the flayed sun
tongue that licks your land of sleepless dunes
hair unpinned
tongue of whips
spoken tongues
unfastened on your back
on your breasts
writing that writes you
with spurred letters
disowns you
with branded signs
dress that undresses you
writing that dresses you in riddles
writing in which I am buried
Hair unpinned
the great night swift over your body
jar of hot wine
on the tablest of the law
howling nude and the silent cloud
cluster of snakes
cluster of grapes
by the cold soles of the moon
rain of hands leaves fingers wind
on your body
on my body on your body
Hair unpinned
foliage of the tree of bones
the tree of aerial roots that drink night from the sun
The tree of flesh The tree of death


Last night
in your bed
we were three:
the moon you & me


I open
the lips of your night
damp hollows

a rush
of unchained water


To sleep to sleep in you
or even better to wake
to open my eyes
at your center
black white black
To be the unsleeping sun
your memory ignites
the memory of me in your memory


And again the sap skywise
(salvia your name
is flame)
of blazing snow)
My tongue
is there
(Your rose
burns through the snow)
(I seal your sex)
from danger drawn
Post a Comment