Staying and Going

shadow water 2

Entre irse y quedarse

Entre irse y quedarse duda el día,
enamorado de su transparencia.

La tarde circular es ya bahía:
en su quieto vaivén se mece el mundo.

Todo es visible y todo es elusivo,
todo está cerca y todo es intocable.

Los papeles, el libro, el vaso, el lapis
reposan a la sombra de sus nombres.

Latir del tiempo que en mi sien repite
la misma terca sílaba de sangre.

La luz hace del muro indiferente
un espectral teatro de reflejos.

En el centro de un ojo me descubro;
no me mira, me miro en su mirada.

Se disipa el instante. Sin moverme,
yo me quedo y me voy: soy una pausa.

Octavio Paz

 

Between going and staying the day hesitates,
in love with its transparency.
The circular afternoon is now a bay:
the world swaying in its stillness.
Everything is visible and all is elusive,
everything is close and everything is untouchable.
Papers, book, glass, pencil
Rest in the shade of their names.
The throb of time repeats in my temples
the same stubborn syllable of blood.
The light turns the indifferent wall
into an ethereal theater of reflections.
I find myself in the center of an eye;
Watch myself in its blank gaze.
The moment scatters. Without moving,
I stay and I go: I am a pause.

 

 

This is a poem I came across when I was putting together my Q post last month. I wound up using a different quedar poem, but this one stuck with me and wouldn’t be forgotten. It reminds me of a summer afternoon, getting lost in the spell of sweltering heat, struggling to come back from wherever your mind has drifted.

Octavio Paz (1914-1998) was a Mexican author, poet, translator and Nobel Laureate.

Translation by me. Comments and corrections always welcome.

(Water/shadow image via Mike Linksvayer via Flickr.)

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