Excerpt: Solar Poems by Homero Aridjis, translated by George McWhirter

Poems for an insomniac


on the window:
your body rains.


In the storm,
twirling twirling is
the butterfly.


Poet’s cold shower
cloudbust of verse.


in the yard:
an eye falls open


Water music
in the pool:
a frog leaps.


I won’t harness my steps to the tumbrel
of the powerful, I’ll press on,
on my own two feet, pulled by the air.


Crisscrossed by rivers
she raises a flower
the five petals of her hand.


Night knows no road
nor the sparrow
where it fell.


when nobody sees him,
walks outside of man.


Today is yesterday and tomorrow in another place.
Nothings farther away, nor nearer
than your being here.


October moon:
two ghosts in one:
a body and its shadow.


I embrace joy in the shape
the instant has taken:
your body.


Your body and mine:
a phantom
in flame


The Last Judgment won’t be Resurrection Day for
the dead,
it will be Resurrection Day for the blind:
then we shall look upon the world we have not seen.


On the mountain I do not see a mountain,
there are some stones, a creek
and your glance the flow carries away.


In the Valley of Dreams,
barely given shape to by the dawn
how lovely this Mt. Nowhere is.


They are difficult to pass through
the passes in the Sierra Madre,
I don’t know how my double
alone can pass through them.


Your body, with no shadow, no nothing,
can dwell on afterward
laden with memories
like the air.


In the shoreless sea
melancholy rolls in on me
while in some other place
some other I beats inside me.


“Do you know what a cloud is, you who, while
I’m talking to you, have been wisped away?”
“Do you know what a cloud is?”


Look at that turtle on the rock saying to itself:
Look at that man eyeing me
from the other side of time.


Among all the doors that are opened and closed
only one is left open,
the one painted blue by the air.


There are poems made in the mouth,
there are poems disgorged by the throat,
there are poems that bubble up from the belly,
saying all, saying nothing at all.


Hearing his voice the word is cut off.
Hushing up his voice, the thing gets heard.
Afloat on nothing, poetry is sure.
A book of visionary works, Solar Poems is the first English translation of a single volume of poems by Mexico’s famed poet-activist, Homero Aridjis, exploring political consciousness as well as the psychological unconscious. Reflecting his ecological concerns and a mystical relationship with the sun, Aridjis’s poems range from the humorous to the poignant, transcending the boundary between life and death as he explores his own past and Mexico’s cultural heritage.

A poet of worldwide renown, Aridjis has received two Guggenheim Fellowships and numerous awards, including the Global 500 Award from the United Nations Environment Program on behalf of the environmental association he founded, the Group of 100, in 1987, and the Prix Roger Caillois from France for poetry and fiction in 1997. President Emeritus of International PEN and former Ambassador to the Netherlands and Switzerland, Aridjis was until recently Mexico’s Ambassador to UNESCO. A prolific author, Aridjis published Poemas solares (Solar Poems) in 2005.

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