Entrada / Fernando Paz Castillo


Poetry is always discovery... Suddenly the walker
(the poet is always walking) is surprised by a beautiful
landscape. He stops. Then continues. And then what
endures amid the ephemeral season and the immediate
past, is a poem. A poem that begins to emerge
instantly, facing the future. Since everything
that achieves persistence, after a fleeting emotion
of beauty: of delight or of melancholy—,
will be a song, if not in reality, then in the
memory of the eternal traveler, that is man.
A generally autumnal song, even if the roses
may have flowered.
It was Paul Verlaine who said:
“I always fear
what will come!”
Such a fear drives our obscured steps
toward mystery. And not merely in pursuit of he who
solicits us, from abroad, nearby or distant,
but instead, more so, of the one who is constantly
being born in the secret furrows of our own consciousness.
Maybe this is why Bergson asks himself —as could be
deduced from his own behavior—, with the glimpsed
answer already in his words: is it not possible
to find a deep nexus between idealism
and reality?

And isn’t the search for that analogy the poet’s
principal mission? That of the man born, in fact,
under the sign of those who have to meddle, with
their own brave words, among the suggestive
turns of the unknown.

This is why St. Thomas Aquinas, fervent
visionary, yet surrounded by clarities,
writes, amid symbols:
“Praise, O Sion, thy Savior, praise thy King
praise your Pastor, with hymns and canticles.”
Of course, anyone who writes a canticle: a
poem— is praising Man and everything that
surrounds him, in visible or presumed reality.
In all of which we implicitly find the intuited will of
a Spirit or higher force.
So those who persevere in denying it,
with perseverance also confirm it. Since
you cannot, by any means, discuss anything beyond that
which, in a real or subjective manner, you’ve acquired with
the passing of the years, as an inevitable right
to persistence.

As for myself, I confess I’m an old Nietzschean traveler,
who reasons, frequently surprised, amid
interrogations; but, notwithstanding, always attentive to
his own shadow. In other words, to the mute eloquent language
of that concealed character, friend and foe at once,
with whom each man sustains his eternal
dialogue, or inner monologue. Which, in the end,
constitutes the suggestion —or true reality—, of
a life, very much one’s own, but also projecting
toward dark insinuating roads.
Though, fortunately, from every shadow, something beautiful
proceeds, at last. As Éluard so clearly suggests:

“In that of the bird who accompanies the newborn child
and who already weighs more than it does on the giant

In all these poems (and it would be my greatest joy
if this were so), some of this mystery might emerge.
Something, like that shadow —nearly fixed in its moment—,
the bird leaves behind its flight. And which,
when not perceived is intuited. Which makes them
nothing other than, at least for me, the inevitable
consequence, with the natural bitter aftertaste,
of walking, attentive, through life and
through art.
Or said in a different mode (I use the word intentionally), of
a poet’s commitment to the intimacy of his
existence. And even more to the suggestion, never
absent, of death.
And the latter, not as an end, which would be a placid
solution, but rather as the persistent unfolding of
what fatally, cannot cease being what it
has been. Because we are, in our existence
and in our ascendance, faithful curators, and faithful
guards of our own origin. And thus, as so eloquently
spoken by Rilke, a daily observer of death:
“We remain in your garden, throughout the years
like trees that will bring such soft death.”
That is, one that has grown sweetly, silently,
with us. And that, when it finally arrives, if it’s
our own, becomes a flower and hides, amid intimate petals,
the seed that will flower, in the harmonious garden
of the future reencounter with the shadow.

A feeling of pride fills me when by
any circumstance, in my most intimate sensibility,
the cult of the word sprouts. Because I think
like Mallarmé, that every word, no matter how simple it
might be, is the seed of a beautiful poem.

I’m certain that the word is the only truth,
among those created by man, that can
fill the immense space that separates him from the infinite.
Whether he’s an atheist or a believer. Since
neither one can ever stop feeling cramped by
death, from the very moment he glimpses the
suggestive attention of whatever could be called life.

Which is why every verse, big or small, according to its
fate, is in the end, like a faithful glimmer,
unexpected, of the poet’s intimate biography.

As it had to be, in this book, though surely the fruit of a
single journey, there are, of course, different seasons.
I respect them. Above all because at its core there exists,
something like a creek, I insist, that runs renovating, despite
its hidden solitude, the freshness of the aforementioned
Rilkean garden, which is always dressed in flowers
when it comes from another springtime.
Naturally there are verses that should never end.
Because beyond their end is the beginning, dark
and suggestive. As in the assumed extremity of the
ray of light, the shadow is born. Or poetry itself which can’t
cease to exist among things, since all that is living,
persists or is renewed, by it, in the
consciousness of man, eternal son of mystery.
This book, just like any book of verse, is a
brief respite, in the eagerness of the walker and
his shadow, to which I’ve referred. In its atmosphere
there is, because of this, a great deal of return. But nostalgia,
sometimes luminous, doesn’t obscure the present. On the
contrary, the present is affirmed in what has been;
and the future is anticipated in what has apparently
ceased to be; and is a persistent affirmation
in the garden, of roses and invisible aromas that surround
our entire existence.

If the book responds to what I feel, many
thoughts will ripen under its influence. While
in the solitude of an afternoon —a reader’s afternoon—,
one feels something like an echo of goodbye, the flight of the wind
through the leaves.

André Breton notes, in his essay on
Mayakovsky: “I think all of poetry is a
game...” It might well be a game. There are so many
games! A game, for example like that of the hidden Being
who handles, on clouds tightened by fears, the
thunder, a type of enormous top, that seems
to have been left spinning in space by the uncoiled
thread of lightning.

And, as Apollinaire has said, the new spirit
inherits the good taste of the classic. But we should
understand —and this is why classics exist—, that this
good sense is, essentially revolutionary.
Man inherits life, but also death.
And between one and the other triumphs poetry. The mysterious
language —expressed or not— that allows for hope to still
exist among men.

Caracas, 1975.

Persistencias (1975)

{ Fernando Paz Castillo, Poesía, Caracas: Biblioteca Ayacucho, 1986 }


richard lopez said...


Guillermo Parra said...

I love how he manages to make this text so loose, as though he's just jotted the lines down as they come to his head. Meandering yet precise & visionary.