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by Octavio Paz

Proem Memory and the Past Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Line)

Quote #1

the laughter that sets fire to rules and the holy commandments; (3)

This line shows how poetry, in its revolutionary uses of language, breaks with the past and its traditions.

Quote #2

the recollection of pronouns freshly cut in the garden of Epicurus, and the garden of Netzahualcoyotl; (9)

The word "recollection" refers not only to remembering or memory, but also to harvesting, like what the gardeners/poets do with the pronouns they pluck.

Quote #3

the flute solo on the terrace of memory and the dance of flames in the cave of thought; (10)

This line is pretty mysterious with its "terrace of memory." Do you think the poem refers to a collective, cultural memory, or to someone in particular's memory? How can you tell?

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