Monday, May 5, 2008

Cinco de Mayo: Octavio Paz on Crickets and Stars

In celebration of Cinco de Mayo, here are some characteristically thoughtful, lovely words and a poem from Mexican poet Octavio Paz. I thought they resonated nicely with Rachel Carson's "sense of wonder" that I like to talk so much about.

This was part of Octavio Paz's Nobel Prize banquet speech in 1990. You can read the whole speech, and his entire Nobel lecture (in Spanish or English) on the Nobel Prize website.

"In the countryside one night, years ago, as I contemplated the stars in the cloudless sky, I heard the metallic sound of the elytra of a cricket. There was a strange correspondence between the reverberation of the firmament at night and the music of the tiny insect. I wrote these lines:

The sky's big.
Up there, worlds scatter.
unfazed by so much night,
a cricket: brace and bit.

Stars, hills, clouds, trees, birds, crickets, men: each has its world, each is a world, and yet all of these worlds correspond. We can only defend life if we experience a revival of this feeling of solidarity with nature. It is not impossible: fraternity is a word that belongs to the traditions of Liberalism and Socialism, of science and religion."

1 comment:

Amy Schimler-Safford said...

One of my favorite poets!