El Poema / The Poem

- 1940-

A Octavio Paz

El poema gira sobre la cabeza de un hombre 
en círculos ya próximos ya alejados

El hombre al descubrirlo trata de poseerlo 
pero el poema desaparece

Con lo que el hombre puede asir
hace el poema

Lo que se le escapa
pertenece a los hombres futuros


For Octavio Paz

The poem spins over the head of a man 
in circles   close now   now far

The man discovers it   tries to possess it 
but the poem disappears

The man makes his poem
from whatever he can grasp 

That which escapes
will belong to future men

Un templo que no está en el templo / A temple not in the temple

Un templo que no está en el templo

Un templo que no está en el templo
un templo fuera de su forma
un templo más antiguo que las piedras
un templo que nos habla y no nos nombra
un templo inmóvil que sigue su camino
un templo más rápido que el pensamiento
me refiero al aire
al templo aire


A temple not in the temple

A temple not in the temple
A temple apart from its form
A temple older than the stones
A temple speaking to us but not naming us
A temple without motion that moves on its way
A temple swifter than thought
I refer to air
the temple of air

Meeting with My Father in the Orchard

Past noon. Past the cinema 
with the tall sorrowful walls 
on the point of coming down, I enter the orchard. 
Show over, all of them have gone: 
day laborers, dogs and doors. 
My father is standing in front of a fig tree. 
My mother has died. The children, grown old. 
He’s alone, small threads of air 
weave in and out of his tattered clothes. 
For fear of getting too close and startling him 
with my living presence, I want to go straight by, 
the strange one now with white hair whom he asks, 
“Who’s that there?”
“Father, it’s me, your son.”
“Does your mother know you’re back. Will you stay and eat?” 
“Father, for years now your wife has lain at rest 
by your side in the town graveyard.” 
Then, as if he has divined everything, 
he calls me by my childhood name 
and gives me a fig. 
So we met up, the living and the dead. 
Then, each went on his way.