Octavio Paz: “As One Listens To The Rain”

As One Listens To The Rain

Listen to me as one listens to the rain,
not attentive, not distracted,
light steps, soft drizzle,
water that is air, air that is time,
the day is just leaving,
the night yet to arrive,
figurations of mist
are just around the corner,
figurations of time
at the turn of this pause,
listen to me as one listens to the rain,
without listening, hear what I say
with eyes open inward,
asleep with all five senses awake,
rain, light steps, a murmuring of syllables,
air and water, words without weight:
what we were and are,
the days and years, this moment,
weightless time, great grief,
listen to me as one listens to the rain,
the wet asphalt sparkles,
the steam rises and walks,
the night unfolds and beholds me,
you are you and your waist of fog,
you and your face of night,
you and your hair, slow lightning,
you cross the street and come in through my forehead,
footsteps of water upon both my eyelids,
listen to me as one listens to the rain,
the asphalt sparkles, you cross the street,
the fog wandering in the night,
it is the night, asleep in your bed,
it is the wave of your breath,
your fingers of water dampen my forehead,
your fingers of flame burn both of my eyes,
your fingers of air open eyelids of time,
a welling up of visions and resurrections,
listen to me as one listens to the rain,
years go by, moments return,
do you hear the footsteps in the other room?
neither here nor there: you hear them
in another time that is also this time,
listen to the footsteps of time,
inventor of places with no weight or location,
listen to the rain running over the terrace,
the night is now more night in the garden,
lightning has nested there among the leaves,
a restless garden lazily drifting
— come in, your shadow covers this page.

Octavio Paz

Translated from Spanish by Paul Weinfield, © 2014

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