Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Poem: "The Mountain"

The Mountain

palabras que son flores que son frutos que son actos.
—Octavio Paz, “Himno entre ruinas”

The mountain is too small to be a mountain
but the legend of a lovelorn princess who hanged
herself and drops from the trees like a fruit,
slows down the childish walk up to the top,
if childish heart dares leave the school’s wire gate.

The mountain in the school is friendlier.
One grade climbs naturally to the next,
affords a higher ledge on which to view
the world prostrate beneath the childish feet,
the word a flower becoming a fruit the act.

The deception of flowers! The lie of fruit!
What is full of life is also full of death.
The word refuses to live with the act.
The school, and its wire gate, lies in ruins.
The mountain flowers still, shading the sun.

*

3 comments:

Shropshirelad said...

I like the trajectory of this one from beginning to end. It has a lovely symmetry.

There is one line I think needs clarification:

"the word a flower becoming a fruit the act."

I think I know what you are getting at but the line doesn't quite make the imaginative leap itself...

Jee Leong Koh said...

Thanks, Eric, for looking at this. You must clarify for me what needs clarification in that line. Yes, I am that stupid.

Shropshirelad said...

I am not sure how I should handle "the act." grammatically.

Poetically, I see where "the act." the fructification of the word via the flower is going, but "the act." itself seems to dangle there mysteriously like some sort of dangley thing I can't quite identify, but which intrigues me greatly.

As many dangley things do...