Between What I See and What I Say

Between What I See and What I Say... (1976)
                                    for Roman Jakobson

1

Between what I see and what I say,
Between what I say and what I keep silent,
Between what I keep silent and what I dream,
Between what I dream and what I forget:
poetry.
            It slips
between yes and no,
                              says
what I keep silent,
                            keeps silent
what I say,
                dreams
what I forget.
                      It is not speech:
it is an act.
                It is an act
of speech.
                  Poetry
speaks and listens:
                            it is real.
And as soon as I say
                              it is real,
it vanishes.
                Is it then more real?

2

Tangible idea,
                    intangible
word:
        poetry
comes and goes
                        between what is
and what is not.
                        It weaves
and unweaves reflections.
                                        Poetry
scatters eyes on a page,
scatters words on our eyes.
Eyes speak,
                  words look,
looks think.
                  To hear
thoughts,
              see
what we say,
                  touch
the body of an idea.
                              Eyes close,
the words open.

— Octavio Paz (1914-1998),
     "Between What I See and What I Say..."
     A Tree Within, (Poems 1976-1987)
     XXX


I read this poem in English class in high school. It still stays with me. I thought I'd share it today.  It makes me feel as if my senses are alive. It inspires me even though I am not a poet and do not write poetry.