A common man marvels at uncommon things. A wise man marvels at the commonplace. CONFUCIUS

Friday, 1 January 2016

Inventing Anew The Reality Of This World

Lately I've been reading a lot of Octavio Paz.

Las puertas del año se abren,
como las del lenguaje,
hacia lo desconocido.
Anoche me dijiste:
habrá que trazar unos signos,
dibujar un paisaje, tejer una trama
sobre la doble página
del papel y del día.
Mañana habrá que inventar,
de nuevo,
la realidad de este mundo.

The doors of the year open,
like the doors of language,
onto the unknown.
Last night you said:
we must draw signs,
sketch a landscape, hatch a plot
on the unfolded page
of paper and the day.
Tomorrow we must invent,
the reality of this world.

OCTAVIO PAZ The opening of Primero de Enero (January First)

Tal vez amar es aprender
a caminar por este mundo.
Aprender a quedarnos quietos
como el tilo y la encina de la fábula.
Aprender a mirar.
Tu mirada es sembradora.
Plantó un árbol.
                          Yo hablo
porque tú meces los follajes.

Perhaps to love is to learn
to walk through this world.
To learn to be silent
like the oak and the linden of the fable.
To learn to see.
Your glance scatters seeds.
It planted a tree.
                           I talk
because you shake its leaves.

OCTAVIO PAZ The close of Carta de Creencia (Letter of Testimony)



George said...

Love both of the Paz poems, as well as the Murakami quote beneath your header photo. Much wisdom here as we embark upon another chapter in our lives. All the best in the New Year, Robert!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Robert - I enjoyed the Paz poems.
I read Bolano's The Savage Dectectives recently - still trying to work out what to make of that beyond the exhilaration. Paz does not come out well in it.


The Solitary Walker said...

I've just been reading Murakami for the first time, George — 'What I Talk about when I Talk about Running' and 'The Wind-up Bird Chronicle'. The last was page-turningly readable and very, very weird. But I liked it.

I do't know that novel, Andy — will check it out. My knowledge of South American fiction is abysmally poor!

Anonymous said...

My friend Cris who comments quite a lot on my blog recommended the following Argentian novels:

Julio Cortázar and his novel “Rayuela” (Hopscotch) is a classic for us. “But what is memory if not the language of feeling, a dictionary of faces and days and smells which repeat themselves like the verbs and adjectives in a speech, sneaking in behind the thing itself,into the pure present, making us sad or teaching us vicariously…”
Morel´s invention from Adolfo Bioy Casares is a classic too.
Not too famous but awesome for me, have been the novels of Osvaldo Soriano.. “Shadow” (una sombra ya pronto serás -this one has a movie too-) is one I have enjoyed; but also “Winter Quarters” and “Funny Little dirty war” (In Spanish was “No habrá más penas ni olvidos”).
Newer books (or not so, but not as famous/classics) are the ones from Eduardo Sacheri (there is one book that has a movie too “The secrete in their eyes” is a good one, and I have downloaded the most recent one “This was to be happy”, I can tell you later about it!).
I will be happy to talk more! Let me know if you have any tittle or author you are interested, I just listed the ones I think are a “must read” after having read them at different decades of my life (like Julio Cortázar).

Gerry Snape said...

I'm just getting into translated poetry...Aldeburgh Festival my introduction...so many wonderful poets out there!!

Anonymous said...

I'm a Paz fan... And I've been reading Murakami for the first time, too. I was half way through Norwegian Wood when the eye went pear-shaped. His website is worth a look.

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks, Andy (Pilgrimpace), for taking the time to write out these recommendations.

PS Did you know I was walking just a few days behind your friend Roland on the VF last summer?

The Solitary Walker said...

Gerry, translated poetry can be so problematic, as some translations do not read well (just look at some of the Rilke or the Machado ones, for instance). However, Eliot Weinberger's translations of Paz are exemplary.

The Solitary Walker said...

Dominic (Sackerson) — I told my daughter I was reading Murakami and her reaction was: 'Murakami? But they're young persons' books, Dad!' Not necessarily so, I think — but since when did fathers and daughters fully understand each other?

I love the way Murakami teases us. And I really like his wide tastes in literature and music — from Chandler to Dostoevsky, from pop to jazz and classical. He's an obsessive, to be sure, but so interesting. 'Wind-up Bird Chronicle' was certainly a tease, and a fabulous mixture of light and dark, of humour and serious, of yin and yang, of animus and anima. How you interpret it is open to question, but there's a lot of Freudian and Lacanian psychology going on in there. He seems to be saying that suffering is necessary for change and transformation, even near-death experiences can be useful for a deeper understanding of consciousness and what it is to be alive. He's got important things to say about war, torture and the darker side of humanity — and I think some of his writing probably explores the Japanese psyche in ways we don't fully appreciate. Yes, he's a trendy writer, but not a superficial one.

dritanje said...

'Perhaps to love is to learn
to walk through this world.
To learn to be silent...'

I've just put up a post about walking and silence, so this resonates very much with me right now. A fine sychronicity!
Thank you for these lovely quotations.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Robert - yes, I gathered you were a bit behind Roland. It has been good to see the photos you have posted as this adds to the words he was recording.
Am just about to get down to some serious planning for Wales in the autumn


Anonymous said...

Trendy? Oh sh**! I'll have to be more careful.

The Solitary Walker said...

Dritanje, I love these quotations — and the whole poems from which they are taken. Going to your post right now!

Cris M said...

Hi Robert,

So funny, I am catching up on reading your blog after a busy January, and found Octavio Paz, which I like very much about Mexican writers. Actually "Primero de Enero" was one of those poems I remember since my secondary school... I don´t recall having read it in English, but the translation is very fair...
It is funny too to find the comment I did to Andy on books from Argentinian writers... Cortázar is my favourite prose write... and probably my favourite poet is Alfonsina Storni... So great we have so many things to share...

Hope all is well with you!
Warm hugs
Cris M

The Solitary Walker said...

Hi Cris — all well here, thanks, and good to have all these connections. Paz is a very interesting writer, I think — have also just read his introduction to a Mexican poetry anthology translated by Samuel Beckett.