Many thanks to Rajat Sharma, for introducing me to this poem.
(Rajat informs me that this is an extract from a larger poem titled 'Letter of Testimony'). There are some poems which you only have to read once to know that they'll be a part of you forever; this, for me, is one of them. It's not as if 'Coda' is a particularly complex poem; it isn't. What it is, though, is exquisitely 'true' in its simplicity: the basic idea is something that I've always known implicitly, but which needed Paz's genius to put into words. thomas. PS. Isn't 'linden' an absolutely beautiful word? [Commentary] In a slightly more analytical vein: The first few phrases of the poem are a sort of definition (if such a thing were possible) of love; like any great poet, Paz presents a wholly new way of looking at his subject. I especially like the line "to love... is to learn to be silent" - it conveys a truth lost in many more verbose descriptions of the emotion. The silence of the forest ("the oak and the linden of the fable") leads naturally into the analogy of the second half:"Your glance scattered seeds / It planted a tree". Again, the metaphor is neither forced nor is it taken too far; the final line comes as a natural (and beautiful) conclusion to the whole. Notice how the rather abstract infinitives with which 'Coda' starts (to love, to learn, to walk, to see, to be silent) give way to more concrete actions later on - 'scattered', 'planted', 'talk' and 'shake'. The result is to move the poem from the general to the specific: from a discussion of Love as an abstract concept, to words and sentences addressed directly to the poet's beloved. This is a fairly common poetic device, but one no less pleasing for that; I like the delicate and unobtrusive skill with which it's done in today's poem. thomas. [Links] Paz won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1990, 'for impassioned writing with wide horizons, characterized by sensuous intelligence and humanistic integrity'. His Nobel lecture, titled 'In Search of the Present', can be found at [broken link] http://www.nobel.se/laureates/literature- 1990-lecture.html Sadly, neither Martin nor myself know much about poetry in languages other than English (Hint! Hint!), so there's a paucity of translated works on the Minstrels. We've only done one Paz before, that too a guest submission, 'There is a motionless tree', archived at poem #412 Other 'Latin' poets to have featured on this list include Borges: poem #401, and Lorca: poem #210 Both of these are guest submissions as well.