by Octavio Paz (tr. Eliot Weinberger)
I was walled inside a dream.
Its walls had no consistency,
no weight: its emptiness was its weight.
The walls were hours and the hours
sorrow, hoarded forever.
The time of those hours was not time.
I leapt through a breach: in this world
it was four o'clock. The room was my room
and my ghost was in each thing.
I wasn't there. I looked out the window:
not a soul under the electric light.
Vigilant streetlamps, dirty snow,
houses and cars asleep, the insomnia
of a lamp, the oak that talks to itself,
the wind and its knives, the illegible
writing of the constellations.
The things were buried deep in themselves
and my eyes of flesh saw them
weary of being, realities
stripped of their names. My two eyes
were souls grieving for the world.
On the empty street the presence
passed without passing, vanishing
into its forms, fixed in its changes,
and turned now into houses, oaks, snow, time.
Life and death flowed on, blurred together.
Uninhabited sight, the presence
looked at me with nobody's eyes:
a bundle of reflections over the cliffs.
I looked inside: the room was my room
and I wasn't there. Being lacks nothing
-- always full of itself, always the same --
even though we are not there...Outside,
the clarities, still uncertain:
dawn in the jumble of the rooftops.
The constellations were being erased.