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saysaybonae Group Title

Can anyone tell me what the poem below means? I thought it means making choices, or life/death. Can anyone support that? BETWEEN GOING AND STAYING (by Octavio Paz) Between going and staying the day wavers, in love with its own transparency. The circular afternoon is now a bay where the world in stillness rocks. All is visible and all elusive, all is near and can't be touched. Paper, book, pencil, glass, rest in the shade of their names. Time throbbing in my temples repeats the same unchanging syllable of blood. The light turns the indifferent wall into a ghostly theater of reflections.

  • 2 years ago
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  1. jesusfreak Group Title
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    It's not really about making choices. Life and death could be translated from this. With the whole "between going and staying the day wavers", people being born and people passing on. Not to sure on the whole "world in stillness rocks" part. A person living having problems going through certain situations they are placed in, i.e. school, and time throbbing, the clock ticks time away, unchanging syllable of blood may be losing that precious time while blood still flows, "the light turns the indifferent wall into a ghostly theater of reflections" could be talking about a live person just passing away or almost in the state of death can sometimes let you see what you are missing out on or what you may be entering into. You see your reflection, could be symbol for you saw the life you lived.

    • 2 years ago
  2. winterlights Group Title
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    I think it's about perception, and a truly beautiful poem (I don't like poetry, as a general rule, but this seems more like prose, and captures THAT part of the day that I've never adequately been able to capture in my own writing or in my thoughts). Time, as we know, moves inexorably onward, but it is also something that we perceive as moving at different speeds depending on our own "frame of mind"...and I use the phrase "frame of mind" to illustrate that in this case, the person in the poem is perceiving the world as a place WITHOUT time, where time is "circular" and repetitive (the "same unchanging syllable of blood" - syllable indicates that it is part of something greater, part of a larger word/pattern, but it doesn't move on from the character's point of view). The pencil, glass, etc. are etched into the moment "in the shade of their names" - the shadows, which move throughout the day, don't move in the perception of the character, so the objects can "rest" just as they are, right now, in the moment. Because things do not move, they are not quite real - they do not reflect reality. The mention of "reflections" is illustrative of the elusive quality of everything that the author mentions: the character sees reflections, not things themselves, and is in fact seeing only a paused instant of something that is not really "real" because time is in fact moving despite his or her perception. It's like watching water: you see the same spot but the molecules are not the same because they are moving, even if the surface appears unchanged. A wave holds its pattern among different molecules. This is an examination, in my opinion, of human perception and of whether things are truly definable, since in rendering them comprehensible - still and named - we also render them unreal. Hence (in my opinion) the eerie beautiful feeling of the hour or so before sunset. Thanks for sharing this poem - I hope inshaAllah that I was of some help. This has certainly been helpful (in ways I probably don't yet understand) to me.

    • 2 years ago
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