Wednesday, July 2, 2014

As One Listens To The Rain ~ Octavio Paz

As One Listens To The Rain

Listen to me as one listens to the rain,
not attentive, not distracted,
light footsteps, thin drizzle,
water that is air, air that is time,
the day is still leaving,
the night has yet to arrive,
figurations of mist
at the turn of the corner,
figurations of time
at the bend in 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,
it's raining, light footsteps, a murmur of syllables,
air and water, words with no weight:
what we are and are,
the days and years, this moment,
weightless time and heavy sorrow,
listen to me as one listens to the rain,
wet asphalt is shining,
steam rises and walks away,
night unfolds and looks at me,
you are you and your body of steam,
you and your face of night,
you and your hair, unhurried lightning,
you cross the street and enter my forehead,
footsteps of water across my eyes,
listen to me as one listens to the rain,
the asphalt's shining, you cross the street,
it is the mist, wandering in the night,
it is the night, asleep in your bed,
it is the surge of waves in your breath,
your fingers of water dampen my forehead,
your fingers of flame burn my eyes,
your fingers of air open eyelids of time,
a spring of visions and resurrections,
listen to me as one listens to the rain,
the years go by, the moments return,
do you hear the footsteps in the next room?
not here, not there: you hear them
in another time that is now,
listen to the footsteps of time,
inventor of places with no weight, nowhere,
listen to the rain running over the terrace,
the night is now more night in the grove,
lightning has nestled among the leaves,
a restless garden adrift-go in,
your shadow covers this page. 


  1. When someone says 'Listen to me as one listens to the rain', I am stuck with the thought whether I have any deficiency in listening because I can't listen to anything. There is nothing out there to listen. There is rain, there is breeze, there are waves of the ocean and then there is sunlight falling softly in the morning and not so softly in the afternoon. There are birds chirping making sometimes wondrous and sometimes crazy sort of noise. I can listen to them. But I can't listen to anything else except the noise made by the mind which is not interested in anything except itself. So for me, this 'thought' is a big barrier. And then there are poets like 'PAZ' who unnecessarily introduce a sense of guilt in the whole population by talking about their ability to listen which I or any normal human being lack or is not interested in any manner whatsoever. Not for us who are limited by 'thought', this high poetry. We are comfortable with our rain and sun and breeze and do not want to pursue this chimera 'Listen to me as you listen to the rain'. So can't appreciate this poetry also. Don't expect any thanks from us. Let PAZ saheb rest in peace. We will not disturb him by words of appreciation or criticism.

  2. The hearing range of humans is 20Hz to 20,000 Hz. And for dogs it is upto 60000 Hz, Mice upto 70,000 Hz, Dogs 80,000 Hz and bats 2,00,000 Hz. So we should learn to hear our fellow beings speaking in the range of 20-20,000 Hz. Then think of listening beyond that. Or after that 'listening beyond' has no meaning.