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By Octavio Paz

Water hollows stone,

wind scatters water,

stone stops the wind.

Water, wind, stone.


Wind carves stone,

stone’s a cup of water,

water escapes and is wind.

Stone, wind, water.


Wind sings in its whirling,

water murmurs going by,

unmoving stone keeps still.

Wind, water, stone.


Each is another and no other:

crossing and vanishing

through their empty names:

water, stone, wind.


Octavio Paz, "Wind, Water, Stone" from The Collected Poems of Octavio Paz, 1957-1987. Copyright © 1979 by Octavio Paz.  Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.

Source: The Collected Poems of Octavio Paz, 1957-1987 (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1987)

Poet Bio

Paz was born in 1914 near Mexico City, into a prominent family with ties to Mexico's political, cultural, and military elite. Often nominated for the Nobel Prize in his lifetime, Mexican author Octavio Paz enjoyed a worldwide reputation as a master poet and essayist. One aspect of Paz's work often mentioned by critics is his tendency to maintain elements of prose—most commonly philosophical thought—in his poetry, and poetic elements in his prose.

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