Octavio Paz (1914 - 1989) zijn 'gods' leest als 'de natuurkrachten'

Van de mexicaanse dichter Octavio Paz heb ik geen Spinoza-gedicht kunnen vinden. Toch krijg ik bij het hier opgenomen gedicht La Llama/Flame de indruk dat het in een Spinozistiche gedichtenverzameling niet misstaat.

Paz had enige kennis van Spinoza. Hoe had hij anders in een herdenkingsessay over Ortega y Gasset kunnen schrijven: "To think was, for him [Ortega y Gasset], synonymous with expression. This was the opposite of Spinoza, who wanted to see his discourse, purged of impurities and accidents of the "I", as the verbal crystallization of mathematics, of the universal order. In this Ortega y Gasset was not far from the father of the essay, Montagne.” [in Octavio Paz: On Poets and Others. Arcade Publishing, 1991, p. 144]

Ik krijg de indruk dat Octavio Paz toch meer aan de kant van Spinoza staat.

 

LA LLAMA, EL HABLA

En un poema leo:
conversar es divino.
Pero los diosa no hablan:
hacen, deshacen mundos
mientras los hombres hablan.
Los dioses, sin palabras,
juegan juegos terribles.

El espíritu baja
y desata las lenguas
pero no habla palabras:
habla lumbre. El lenguaje,
por el dios encendido,
es una profecía
de llamas y una torre
de humo y un desplome
de sílabas quemadas:
ceniza sin sentido.

La palabra del hombre
es hija de la muerte.
Hablamos porque somos
mortales: las palabras
no son signos, son años.
Al decir lo que dicen
los nombres que decimos
dicen tiempo: nos dicen.
Somos nombres del tiempo.

Mudos, también los muertos
pronuncian las palabras
que decimos los vivos.
El lenguaje es la casa
de todos en el flanco
del abismo colgada.
Conversar es humana.

Octavio Paz from "A Draft of Shadows" [van hier]

 

FLAME, SPEECH

I read in a poem:
to talk is divine.
But the gods don't speak:
they make and unmake worlds
while men do the talking.
They play frightening games
without words.

The spirit descends,
loosening tongues,
but doesn't speak words:
It speaks fire.
Lit by a god,
language becomes
a prophecy
of flames and a tower
of smoke and collapse
of syllables burned:
ash without meaning.

The word of man
is the daughter of death.
We talk because we are mortal:
words are not signs, they are years.
Saying what they say,
the words we are saying
say time: they name us.
We are time's names.

The dead are mute
but they also say
what we are saying.
Language is the house
of all, hanging over the abyss.
To talk is human.

Translated by Mark Strand
[van
hier]

[Op video gelezen door Matthew]

Die indruk [dat Octavio Paz aan de kant van Spinoza staat] krijg ik nog meer bij het lezen van de volgende uittreksels van Octavio Paz‘ speech bij de Nobelprijsuitreiking in december 1990:

Octavio Paz shortly after receiving his Nobel Prize, 1990 (credit: Svenskt Pressefoto)"At the close of this century we have discovered that we are part of a vast system (or network of systems) ranging from plants and animals to cells, molecules, atoms and stars. We are a link in “the great chain of being”, as the philosophers of antiquity used to call the universe. One of man’s oldest gestures, repeated daily from the beginning of time, is to look up and marvel at the starry sky. This act of contemplation frequently ends in a feeling of fraternal identification with the universe. In the countryside one night, years ago, as I contemplated the stars in the cloudless sky, I heard the metallic sound of the elytra of a cricket. There was a strange correspondence between the reverberation of the firmament at night and the music of the tiny insect. I wrote these lines:

The sky’s big.
Up there, worlds scatter.
Persistent,
unfazed by so much night,
a cricket: brace and bit.

Stars, hills, clouds, trees, birds, crickets, men: each has its world, each is a world, and yet all of these worlds correspond. We can only defend life if we experience a revival of this feeling of solidarity with nature. It is not impossible: fraternity is a word that belongs to the traditions of Liberalism and Socialism, of science and religion.


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
Translated by Eliot Weinberger [van hier]