Octavio Paz

Certeza


Si es real la luz blanca
de esta lámpara, real
la mano que escribe, son reales
los ojos que miran lo escrito?

 De una palabra a la otra
lo que digo se desvanece.
Yo sé que estoy vivo
entre dos parenthesis.

trans. Jeff Alessandrelli

Certainty


If the lamp’s white light
is real, if real
is the hand that writes,
are the eyes that stare
at these words real? 

From one word to the next
what I say vanishes.
Between two parentheses
is only when I know
I’m alive.

 
 

Here


My footsteps in the street
resonate

               in another street
where

                I hear my footsteps
crossing into the street
where

 the only thing true is the mist in the fog

Aquí


Mis pasos en esta calle

resuenan
                     en otra calle
donde
                oigo mis pasos
pasar en esta calle
donde

 Sólo es real la niebla

 

Full Sun


Time is now transparent:
if the bird is invisible
we yet see the color of her singing.

Pleno sol


La hora es transparente:
vemos, si es invisible el pájaro,
el color de su canto.

 

 

Born in Mexico City in 1914, Octavio Paz won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1990. Some of his early work was influenced by the French Surrealists, namely André Breton and Benjamin Péret; these translations derive from that period of Paz’s writing.

Jeff Alessandrelli is the author of the full–length collection This Last Time Will Be the First (Burnside Review, 2014). Other work has appeared in Denver Quarterly, The American Poetry ReviewBoston Review, and in five chapbooks. He is the editor of Dikembe Press and the vinyl–record–only poetry press Fonograf Editions, and he is currently a staff blogger for The Kenyon Review.