In Austria, today is Street Children’s Day, but there are street children everywhere. If children really are our future, then every child should have enough to eat, a safe place to sleep, clothes that fit and protect from the weather, and a school where they can learn something more than how to get through just one more day.
Octavio Paz (1914-1998) was born in Mexico City. He wrote many volumes of poetry, as well as a prolific body of remarkable works of nonfiction on subjects as varied as poetics, literary and art criticism, politics, culture, and Mexican history. He was awarded the Jerusalem Prize in 1977, the Cervantes Prize in 1981, and the Neustadt Prize in 1982. He received the German Peace Prize for his political work, and finally, the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1990.
To read the poem “The Street” by Octavio Paz, click
by Octavio Paz
Here is a long and silent street.
I walk in blackness and I stumble and fall
and rise, and I walk blind, my feet
trampling the silent stones and the dry leaves.
Someone behind me also tramples, stones, leaves:
if I slow down, he slows;
if I run, he runs I turn : nobody.
Everything dark and doorless,
only my steps aware of me,
I turning and turning among these corners
which lead forever to the street
where nobody waits for, nobody follows me,
where I pursue a man who stumbles
and rises and says when he sees me : nobody.
“The Street” from The Collected Poems of Octavio Paz – 1957-1987, © 1988 by Octavio Paz, edited by Eliot Weinberger – New Directions Books