# "...How many works of art...There's not enough room in the world for them any more...They have to bang outside the rooms...How many books...How many little books...Who can read them all...? If they were food...if, during a wave of great hunger, we tossed a salad, cut them up, poured some dressing on them...We've had it...We're fed up...The world is drowning in a flood tide of books..."
# Oh, the land
we have never lived:
we were a flicker
of movement on the road,
through the shadow...
from Ode to a Sleeping House
I cannot measure the road
which may have had no country,
or that truth which changed,
which the day perhaps subdued
to become a wandering light
like a firefly in the dark.
# Where is the child I was,
still inside me or gone?
# When love like a huge wave
carried us, crashed us against the boulder,
it milled us into a single flour.
from Sonnet LXI
# It comes on like a flower from the earth
advancing with decisive aroma
up to the magnitude of the magnolia;
but this flower from the depths already burst
brings along all the light ever abolished,
all the branches that never burned
and all the spring-source of whiteness.
from The Wave
let the wax erect
let the ocean be
tower and tunic
and the world
a comet's tail, a
from Ode to Bees
# I got lost in the night, without the light
of your eyelids, and when the night surrounded me
I was born again: I was the owner of my own darkness.
from Sonnet LVII
# With my little terrestrial bird,
my rustic earthen jug,
I break out singing
the guitar's rain:
alleged autumn arrives
like a load of firewood,
decanting the aroma
that flew through the mountains,
and grape by grape my kisses
were joined to her bunch.
from The She Bird
# Why do I move without wanting to,
why am I not able to sit still?
# And it was at that age...Poetry arrived
in search of me. I don't know, I don't know where
it came from, from winter or from a river.
I don't know how or when,
no, they were not voices, they were not
words, nor silence,
but from a street I was summoned,
from the branches of night,
abruptly from the others,
among violent fires
or returning alone,
there I was without a face
and it touched me.
# He offered me his hand
the way an old tree might
extend a broken branch
of leaves and fruit
from Ode to an Aged Poet
# Everywhere I got together
honey the bears devoured,
the spring submerged,
the elephant's treasure
and all this I owe to my own
The people gave me my identity,
I never ceased to be people.
I carried in the palm of my hand
the world with its archipelagoes
and as I cannot be refused
I never refused my heart,
nor oysters, nor the stars.
from Autumn Testament
# The father of the loaves was forgotten,
he who cut and walked, beating
and opening paths, shifting sand,
when everything else existed, he existed no longer,
he gave away his existence, that was everything.
He went somewhere else to work and ultimately
he went into death, rolling
like a river stone --
death carried him off downstream.
from The Pueblo
# Do tears not yet spilled
wait in small lakes?
# Your hand touched syllables that rang like bells,
touched cups, barrels full of yellow oil,
flower petals, fountains, and, above all, love,
Love: your pure hand guarded the ladles.
from Sonnet XXXV
# I take the word and go over it
as though it were nothing more than a human shape,
its arrangements awe me and I find my way
through each variation in the spoken word --
I utter and I am and without speaking I approach
the limit of words and the silence.
from The Word
# I wrote five poems:
one was green,
another a round wheaten loaf,
the third was a house, a building,
the fourth a ring,
and the fifth was
brief as a lightning flash,
and as I wrote it,
it branded my reason.
from Ode to Criticism
# Why doesn't Thursday talk itself
into coming after Friday?
# Anyone who hasn't been in the Chilean forest doesn't know this planet. I have come out of that landscape, that mud, that silence, to roam, to go singing through the world.
# I was walking
a sizzling road:
the sun popped like
a field of blazing maize
an infinite circle
with an empty
blue sky overhead.
from Ode to Bicycles
# ...You can say anything you want, yessir, but it's the words that sing, they soar and descend...I bow to them...I love them, I cling to them, I run them down, I bite into them, I melt them down...I love words so much...The unexpected ones...The ones I wait for greedily or stalk until, suddenly, they drop...
# O love, how quickly you built a sweet
firmness where the wounds had been!
You fought off the talons and claws, and now
we stand as a single life before the world.
from Sonnet XXIII
# Between the fir tree and the poppy
whom does the earth love more?
# In an instant
all the eyes
of the night
and I saw only
four blue roses,
four frozen gems
studding the solitary sky.
from Ode to the Southern Cross
# Did Spring never deceive you
with kisses that didn't bloom?
# Mondays are meshed with Tuesdays
and the week with the whole year.
Time cannot be cut
with your weary scissors,
and all the names of the day
are washed out by the waters of the night.
--from Too Many Names
# In its caves
the salt moans, mountain
of buried light,
crystal of the sea, oblivion
of the waves.
from Ode to Salt