Study Guide

Proem Memory and the Past

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Memory and the Past

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.

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.

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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