Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The world is as it appears



The World Is As It Appearsby Miguel Hernández


The world is as it appears
before my five senses,
and before yours, which are
the borders of my own.
The others' world
is not ours: not the same.
You are the body of water
that I am— we, together,
are the river
which as it grows deeper
is seen to run slower, clearer.
Images of life—
as soon as we receive them,
they receive us, delivered
jointly, in one rhythm.
But things form themselves
in our own delirium.
The air has the hugeness
of the heart I breathe,
and the sun is like the light
with which I challenge it.
Blind to the others,
dark, always remiss,
we always look inside,
we see from the most intimate places.
It takes work and love
to see these things with you;
to appear, like water
with sand, always one.
No one will see me completely.
Nor is anyone the way I see him.
We are something more than we see,
something less than we look into.
Some parts of the whole
pass unnoticed.
No one has seen us. We have seen
no one, blind as we are from seeing.


Translated by Don Share

*
Well, most men have bound their eyes with one or another handkerchief, and attached themselves to some one of these communities of opinion. This conformity makes them not false in a few particulars, authors of a few lies, but false in all particulars. Their every truth is not quite true. Their two is not the real two, their four not the real four: so that every word they say chagrins us and we know not where to begin to set them right. Meantime nature is not slow to equip us in the prison uniform of the party to which we adhere. We come to wear one cut of face and figure, and acquire by degrees the gentlest asinine expression. There is a mortifying experience in particular, which does not fail to wreak itself also in the general history; I mean "the foolish face of praise," the forced smile which we put on in company where we do not feel at ease, in answer to conversation which does not interest us. The muscles, not spontaneously moved but moved by a low usurping willfullness, grow tight about the outline of the face, and make the most disagreeable sensation; a sensation of rebuke and warning which no brave young man will suffer twice.

-- R.W. Emerson

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