for Roger Caillois

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.

Note to Poetry Out Loud students: This poem begins with an epigraph that must be recited. Omitting the epigraph will affect your accuracy score.
  • 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

What People are Saying

"I was surprised how attached I got to my poems. I've had "Degrees of Gray in Philipsburg" memorized since my sophomore year, and whenever I get nervous or anxious about something I recite it to myself. "
Sarah Calvin-Stupfel
2018 OR POL Champ