“Four Black Poplars by Octavio Paz

Willow Springs 13

Found in Willow Springs 13

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As this line follows after itself
through the horizontal boundaries pursuing it
and, eternal fugitive, in the declining west
in which it seeks itself it dissipates
- as this same line
through its raised glance
turns all its letters
a diaphonous column
resolved as one untouched
unheard untasted but meditated
flower of vowels and consonants
-as this line that will not finish writing itself
and before devouring itself draws itself up
without ceasing to flow but always upward:
the four black poplars.

for the empty heights and there below
in the sky choked with water, duplicated,
the four are a single black poplar
and are none.

Beyond, fronds in flames
that extinguish themselves--the evening adrift­--
other black poplars now spectral tatters
undulate endlessly
endlessly immobile.
The yellow slips into rose,
the night twists itself into violet.
Between sky and water
- herbaceous calligraphy
traced over coals by the blowing wind-
is a blue and green fringe: earth.
It is one reflection hung within another.
Transitions: the winking eyes of the instant.
Each thing is its double, its phantasm;
the world disincorporates,
it is an apparition, it is four black poplars,
four violet melodies.
Fragile branches rise up from their trunks.
They are a bit of light and a bit of wind.
Immobile mooring-lines. With my eyes
I hear them murmur words of air.
Silence goes with the stream,
returns with the sky.

What I see is real:
four weightless black poplars
planted over a vortex.
A fixity that rushes
downward, upward,
toward the water of the sky of the pool
in a graceful toil that has no end
while the world weighs anchor in darkness.
Pulse of final clarities:
fifteen minutes under a siege
that Claude Monet observes from a rowboat.

The sky is destroyed in the water,
the water negates itself in itself,
the black poplar is an explosion in violet:
the world is not solid.
Between being and non-being the grasses waver,
the elements soften,
the contours darken,
aspects, reflections, reverberations,
sparkling of forms and presences,
fog of images, occultations,
I see what we are: hallucinations .

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