Thursday, January 23, 2020

Invented by the Day

The work of art is always unfaithful to its creator... Art lays at a higher level; it says something more, and almost always, it says something different from what the artist wanted to say.
~Octavio Paz

Happy Poetry Friday! I like poems where time is a bit wibbly wobbly, and I haven't 100% settled into 2020 yet, so this poem by Octavio Paz appealed to me for today:

January First
by Octavio Paz
translated by Elizabeth Bishop with the author

The year's doors open
like those of language,
toward the unknown.
Last night you told me: tomorrow
we shall have to think up signs,
sketch a landscape, fabricate a plan
on the double page
of day and paper.
Tomorrow, we shall have to invent,
once more,
the reality of this world.

I opened my eyes late.
For a second of a second
I felt what the Aztec felt,
on the crest of the promontory,
lying in wait
for the time's uncertain return
through cracks in the horizon.

But no, the year had returned.
It filled all the room
and my look almost touched it.
Time, with no help from us,
had placed
in exactly the same order as yesterday
houses in the empty street,
snow on the houses,
silence on the snow.

You were beside me,
still asleep.
The day had invented you
but you hadn't yet accepted
being invented by the day.

read the rest here


Kathryn Apel has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Kat!

I just added this to my "originals" page this morning: When I Grow Up, I Want To Be A Cat (for Christie).


KatApel - said...

A poem that travels unexpected places and makes you think. Thank-you for sharing, Tabatha. xx

Linda B said...

It is a beautiful world he shows. I love poets who seem to write just for each of us. We smile and love the words, and say "Yes, that's it!" Thanks, Tabatha for sharing with all of us: "Perhaps we'll open the day's doors."

Kay said...

I like the invitation to wobbly time. I feel a bit wobbly myself some days. Thanks for sharing this one. I also like the quote you shared at the beginning. My poems often don't cooperate!

Janice Scully said...

Such an incredible poem and reading. I love the metaphors about language and the way it made me consider time. I want to read more of Octavio Paz.

Margaret Simon said...

This is a new to me poem and has been tucked away for inspiration. Thanks for sharing.

Tara said...

I love the the very idea of being able to :
bear witness to time and its conjugations.
Thanks for sharing this poem,Tabatha!

Sally Murphy said...

Thanks for sharing this. the reading is wonderful. That voice!

michelle kogan said...

Thanks for this powerful poem, with a powerful ending, Tabatha…
"Perhaps we'll open the days doors
And then we shall enter the unknown"
I haven't quite opened the doors yet…

Carol Varsalona said...

I'm ready to open the day's doors and enter the unknown, Tabatha. It is hard to believe that January is almost at an end. Thanks for sharing this wonderful poem.

Irene Latham said...

time's inventions, the unfaithfulness of art, the woman invented by day, or the day invented by the woman... I like thinking about these thing! Thank you, Tab. xo

jama said...

Yes, a wobbly start for me too -- for all of us in this country, really. Thanks for the Paz poem (also new to me) -- a new year is always filled with uncertainty but at the same time, such possibility. Let's all have the best 2020!

Heidi Mordhorst said...

As much as I love every single thing I've ever come across by Octavio Paz, you'd think I'd own a collection of his, but no! Thanks for serving up another slippery, silvery, ethereal, ever-real magic of a poem. Wishing you your desired amount of certainty about what day it is!

Karen Edmisten said...

I'm always wibbly wobbly about time, too, Tabatha, so I love this.
Love these lines:

The day had invented you
but you hadn't yet accepted
being invented by the day.

Thanks for this one!