Octavio Paz Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 40 quotes)
In this pilgrimage in search of modernity I lost my way at many points only to find myself again. I returned to the source and discovered that modernity is not outside but within us. It is today and the most ancient antiquity; it is tomorrow and the beginning of the world; it is a thousand years old and yet newborn. It speaks in Nahuatl, draws Chinese ideograms from the 9th century, and appears on the television screen. This intact present, recently unearthed, shakes off the dust of centuries, smiles and suddenly starts to fly, disappearing through the window. A simultaneous plurality of time and presence: modernity breaks with the immediate past only to recover an age-old past and transform a tiny fertility figure from the neolithic into our contemporary. We pursue modernity in her incessant metamorphoses yet we never manage to trap her. She always escapes: each encounter ends in flight. We embrace her and she disappears immediately: it was just a little air. It is the instant, that bird that is everywhere and nowhere. We want to trap it alive but it flaps its wings and vanishes in the form of a handful of syllables. We are left empty-handed. Then the doors of perception open slightly and the other time appears, the real one we were searching for without knowing it: the present, the presence.
a silent concave of puppet buffoonsneither eagles nor jaguarsbuzzard lawyerslocuseswings of ink sawing mindiblesventriloquist coyotespeddlers of shadowsbeneficent satrapsthe cacomistle thief of hensthe monument to the Rattle and its snakethe altar to the mauser and the machetethe mausoleum of the epauletted caymanrhetoric sculpted in phrases of cement
listen to me as one listens to the rain, the years go by, the moments return, do you hear the footsteps in the next room? not here, not there: you hear them in another time that is now, listen to the footsteps of time, inventor of places with no weight, nowhere, listen to the rain running over the terrace, the night is now more night in the grove, lightning has nestled among the leaves, a restless garden adrift-go in, your shadow covers this page.
At times poetry is the vertigo of bodies and the vertigo of speech and the vertigo of death; the walk with eyes closed along the edge of the cliff, and the verbena in submarine gardens; the laughter that sets on fire the rules and the holy commandments; the descent of parachuting words onto the sands of the page; the despair that boards a paper boat and crosses, for forty nights and forty days, the night-sorrow sea and the day-sorrow desert; the idolatry of the self and the desecration of the self and the dissipation of the self; the beheading of epithets, the burial of mirrors; the recollection of pronouns freshly cut in thegarden of Epicurus, and the garden of Netzahualcoyotl; the flute solo on the terrace of memory and the dance of flames in the cave of thought; the migrations of millions of verbs, wings and claws, seeds and hands; the nouns, bony and full of roots, planted on the waves of language; the love unseen and the love unheard and the love unsaid: the love in love.
Solitude is the profoundest fact of the human condition. Man is the only being who knows he is alone, and the only one who seeks out another. His nature - if that word can be used in reference to man, who has ‘invented’ himself by saying ‘no’ to nature - consists in his longing to realize himself in another. Man is nostalgia and a search for communion. Therefore, when he is aware of himself he is aware of his lack of another, that is, of his solitude.
Eroticism is first and foremost a thirst for otherness. And the supernatural is the supreme otherness. This is perhaps the most noble aim of poetry, to attach ourselves to the world around us, to turn desire into love, to embrace, finally what always evades us, what is beyond, but what is always there? the unspoken, the spirit, the soul.
I thought that the world was a vast system of signs, a conversation between giant beings. My actions, the cricket's saw, the star's blink, were nothing but pauses and syllables, scattered phrases from that dialogue. What word could it be, of which I was only a syllable? Who speaks the word? To whom is it spoken?