Saturday, February 13, 2010

Poem: "Progress"


Progress

porque la luz canta con un rumor de agua, con un rumor de follaje canta el agua
—Octavio Paz, “El cántaro roto”

Not more light for dangerous streets but more light for staircases of the soul.
Not more leaves for shade from the sun but more leaves for the sake of leaves.
Not more water for botanical gardens but more water for broken water jars.

We do not say it is not progress to have safe streets, sunshade and gardens.
We do not say it is not progress to have hospitals, gas stations and stock markets.
We do not say it is not progress to pipe clean water to every thirsty home.

But the soul keeps to streets paved with light and fears to climb dark staircases.
But the leaves hold out the blistering sun and do not hold the lightest look.
But the broken water jars are unearthed, labeled and displayed after gardens die.

So let the soul climb dizzy staircases even when lying down in a hospital.
So let the leaves flex in their vigor the sun’s large energies at a gas station.
So let the water jars, broken and discolored, be valued by the stock market.

The light sings with the sound of water, with the sound of leaves the water sings
from the village well to the standing pipe to the running tap in all our homes.

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2 comments:

Patricia Markert said...

Beautiful poem, Jee. I love that Paz poem, the inspiration.

Jee Leong Koh said...

Thanks, Patty. Paz is inspirational, a flood.