Airborn: Hijos Del Aire
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"Airborn" is a bilingual sequence of sonnets written jointly by the Mexican poet Octavio Paz and his English fellow poet and translator Charles Tomlinson. In their forewords, the poets explain how the poems came to be written and translated. As Charles Tomlinson writes, 'These collaborative poems were the result of a meeting, early one summer in Gloucestershire, when, out of the many words we had thought and spoken, we chose 'house' and 'day' as the words for a future postal meditation in sonnet form'.
builds a house of what is there (horsehair bonded the plaster when horses were) and of what one brings (the rhyme concealed): space into its time, time to its space. Yet we are bom in houses we did not make. (The rhyme returns, a bridge between the lines.) The sun revolves its buried images to restore to mind that ruined house once more time and not I unmade—the rhyme revealed only by the unheard pace of time, and fragile yet dissonant against its space. Time unmakes and builds the house again:
and rhyme, a sun brought, echo by echo, to birth, illuminates, unspaces it back to time. 13 II Casa por la memoria edificada — blancos intermitentes—•, más pensada que vivida y más dicha que pensada, casa que dura el tiempo de decirla, en leche tú comienzas, en calor y comida, repiten las palabras tus substancias primeras, el pensamiento guarda tu olor de pan intacto o flota en el estanque de sus recordaciones: casa en la conjunción de dos pasados y de dos escrituras, construida por un
murmullo en busca de sentido, colmena de palabras donde la miel del tiempo con sabor instantáneo colma y sacia esta boca, esta mente—ciudadela de células. 14 n House that memory makes out of itself between the spaces of blank time — more thought than lived and yet more said than thought, house that lasts as long as its own sound takes: house, you began in milk, in warmth, in eating: words must re-tongue your first solidities and thought keep fresh your fragrance of bread baking or drown in the
exclamations) onomatopoeias of celebration of the yearly chemical resurrection, where evening already stains the finished page and shadow absorbing shadow, day is going down in fire, in foliage. 23 II Escoliastas de sueños, somos los herederos de la noche de nuevo descubierta, regreso a la palabra del origen, obscuras sílabas de frondas invisibles y seres inauditos. Rompe la madrugada en oleaje promiscuo — consonantes y vocales — golpeando los diques del lenguaje y estalla sin llegar a ser
horsehair. As I ’d promised myself not to exceed the fourteen syllables, this elliptical line occurred to me: con crirt ligaban la argamasa — habta caballos (they bonded the mortar with mane — there were horses). Once our little book was complete we looked around for a title. Brenda Tomlinson suggested Airborn to us. An exact title: our booklet was an offspring of air. Charles pointed out that the expression contained other meanings: airborne, every poem is made of air (Pound: ‘I made it out of a