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Proverbs and Songs
by Antonio Machado

Selected and Translated from Spanish
by Gill Schwartz

The eye you see is not
an eye because you see it;
it is because it sees you.

My eyes in the mirror
are blind eyes that look at
the eyes with which I see them.

But look for the other in your mirror,
for the other that goes with you.

And in the thing never seen
by your eyes I have sought me:
in it to see with what you see me.

Thank you, my Belonging;
for in your eyes I have lost myself
which was what I did desire.

is the flip-side of being.

Without love, ideas
are like ugly women,
or overworked copies
of a goddess' form.

Without woman
there is neither understanding
nor creation.

They say that a man is no man
when he doesn't hear his name
on some woman's lips.

In the ocean of woman
few shipwreck at night;
many at dawn.

Love, by the short route
of those who say "Come with me",
then "Come back soon mountaineer."

In the street of my jealousy
I see you by twenty fences
forever speaking with others.

Destined for your window
the morning gave me a rose bough.
Through a labyrinth of high and byways
I have run, searching for your house and fence.
And I found me lost in the labyrinth
of this morning of flowery May.
Tell me where you are.
Turning and returning, now I can no more.

In dreams he saw himself
reclined on the breast of his beloved.
He cried, in dreams: "Awake, my love!"
And it was he who woke; because
he had his own heart for pillow.

In my solitude
I have clearly seen things
that are not true.

Beyond life and dream
is that which matter more:
to awaken.

Man is by nature the paradoxical beast,
an absurd animal that needs logic.
From nothing he created a world, and, his work done,
"Now I'm in on the secret," he said, "all is emptiness."

Whenever we reflect on ourselves
it is a summons for the morrow.
Never will we meet ourselves.

We trust
that nothing of what we think
will ever be true,
not even by accident.

Every man had two
battles to undertake:
in dreams he wrestles with God,
and with the sea when awake.



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