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 lápiz
reposan a la sombra de sus nombres.

Latir del tiempo que en mi sien repite
la misma terca sîlaba 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.


Between going and staying the day wavers,
in love with its own transparency.

The circular afternoon is now a bay
where the world in stillness rocks.

All is visible and all elusive,
all is near and can't be touched.

Paper, book, pencil, glass,
rest in the shade of their names.

Time throbbing in my temples repeats
the same unchanging syllable of blood.

The light turns the indifferent wall
into a ghostly theater of reflections.

I find myself in the middle of an eye,
watching myself in its blank stare.

The moment scatters. Motionless,
I stay and go: I am a pause.

Octavio Paz, 31 March, 1914 - 20 April 1998

Born in Mexico and educated in Mexico City, Paz lived for periods of time in Spain, France, and the U.S. After WWII, he entered the Mexican dimplomatic service and was posted to Japan and India. In 1968 he resigned as ambassador to India to protest his government's repressive brutality against student demonstrations in Mexico City. He has since taught at Cambridge and Harvard. In 1990 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Paz's career has been devoted to the idea that as "an operation capable of changing the world, poetic activity is revolutionary by nature." Poetry, he has maintained, "is not truth, it is the resurrection of presences."