Epitaph for an Old Woman
by Octavio Paz
Analysis: Calling Card
Paz writes with simple, accessible language. Though his imagery relies heavily on imagery from the natural world, he also accesses the dreamlike world of the surreal. (Surrealism, in a nutshell, uses the images and logic of dreams to explore hidden, or deep-seeded, meanings.)
In "Epitaph for an Old Woman," we see this happening when the very sparse description of this old woman's burial becomes a mystical account of her dead husband receiving her. It then jumps to a larger statement about life and death.
This combination of the simple or earthly and the surreal makes reading Paz feel like taking a nature walk in a magical and invigorating version of the world. And the good news? This poem is not the only work of Paz's to do so! The simple, yet profound and dream-like, style found here is a hallmark of his work in general.