Piedra de sol
by Octavio Paz
Stanzas 6-8 Summary
Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.
dressed in the color of my desires,
you go your way naked as my thoughts,
I travel your eyes, like the sea,
tigers drink their dreams in those eyes,
the hummingbird burns in those flames,
I travel your forehead, like the moon,
like the cloud that passes through your thoughts,
I travel your belly, like your dreams,
- Things are heating up in this stanza. We find out (through a little bilingual-edition sleuthing—vestida or "dressed" and desnuda or "naked" are feminine forms of the adjectives in the original Spanish) that the you is a woman, and that she is definitely desired by the speaker.
- Plus, we find out that she's naked, or "dressed in the color of my desires" (flesh-toned, that is), and the speaker then zooms in on her body parts, "traveling" them (ahem, refrain), and comparing them to natural elements like water and fire.
- Tigers and hummingbirds also take part in consuming and being consumed by her body—the tigers drink dreams in her eyes, while the hummingbird burns in the flames—a natural element that signifies, naturally, hotness. Check out the "Symbols" section for more on water, fire, and birds.
- Also look at the similes in lines 49, 54, 55, and 56. All of them compare a body part (eyes, forehead, thoughts, and belly) to either a natural element or part of her inner life (sea, moon, cloud, dreams). The "Symbols" section has even more on the body if you're interested.
- This all gives the whole affair a really cosmic feel—the woman's body is like the sea or the sky, and her lover, the speaker, can access her body and her thoughts and dreams. Creepy or romantic? You be the judge.
your skirt of corn ripples and sings,
your skirt of crystal, your skirt of water,
your lips, your hair, your glances rain
all through the night, and all day long
you open my chest with your fingers of water,
you close my eyes with your mouth of water,
you rain on my bones, a tree of liquid
sending roots of water into my chest,
- The first lines here dress our woman not just in the color of the speaker's desires, but in a series of skirts made of, you guessed it, natural elements. Corn, crystal, and finally the skirt of water lead to her body parts, which rain onto the speaker. Now that's style.
- Her fingers of water, mouth of water, and finally a liquid tree all rain down, opening up the chest of the speaker.
- Like the rain or the tree penetrates the earth in nature, here the woman penetrates the man. That might sound a little bit weird if you think it through, and it is definitely an inversion of typical poetic sexual roles. The woman here is like Mother Nature, while the man is the earth.
I travel your length, like a river,
I travel your body, like a forest,
like a mountain path that ends at a cliff
I travel along the edge of your thoughts,
and my shadow falls from your white forehead,
my shadow shatters, and I gather the pieces
and go on with no body, groping my way,
- These lines give us another clue into the nature of the speaker.
- He's still traveling up and down his lover's body (here the refrain becomes an anaphora, because it is repeated at the beginning of successive lines), still using simile to compare her body to nature ("like a river"; "like a forest"; "like a mountain path that ends at a cliff").
- At the end of the path that is his lover, the speaker finds an abyss, and not he but his shadow falls from her forehead.
- The shadow shatters—why would that happen? Is there no more sun? Is it broken up by something between it and the sun?
- But the most interesting clue comes at the end when the speaker picks up the pieces of his shadow and goes on with no body. It's as though he only has a body if he has a shadow, instead of the other way around. What could that tell you about the way he relates to others and the world?