Octavio Paz

Flame, speech

I read in a poem: to talk is divine. But the gods don't speak: they make and unmake worlds while men do t he talking. They play frightening games without words. The spirit descends, loosening tongues, but doesn't speak words: it speaks fire. Lit by a god, language becomes a prophecy of flames and a tower of smoke and collapse of syllables burned: ash without meaning. The word of man is the daughter of death. \Ne talk because we are mortal: words are not signs, they are years. Saying what they say, the words we are saying say time: they name us. We are time's names. To talk is human.

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