I sat at the foot of a huge tree, a statue of the night, and tried to make an inventory of all I had seen, heard, smelled, and felt: dizziness, horror, stupor, astonishment, joy, enthusiasm, nausea, inescapable attraction. What had attracted me? It was difficult to say: Human kind cannot bear much reality. Yes, the excess of reality had become an unreality, but that unreality had turned suddenly into a balcony from which I peered into - what? Into that which is beyond and still has no name…
Poetry is knowledge, salvation, power, abandonment. An operation capable of changing the world, poetic activity is revolutionary by nature; a spiritual exercise; it is a means of interior liberation. Poetry reveals this world; it creates another.
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.
It is always difficult to give oneself up; few persons anywhere ever succeed in doing so, and even fewer transcend the possessive stage to know love for what it actually is: a perpetual discovery, an immersion in the waters of reality, an unending re-creation.
To live is also to think, and sometimes to cross the border beyond which feeling and thinking become one: poetry.
There is light. We neither see nor touch it.
In its empty clarities rests
what we touch and see.
I see with my fingertips
what my eyes touch:
shadows, the world.
With shadows I draw worlds,
I scatter worlds with shadows.
I hear light beat on the other side.
— Octavio Paz
translation: Eliot Weinberger
from The Collected Poems 1957-1987
Carcanet Press Ltd, 1988
from 3 Quarks Daily