"The four cardinal points are three, the south and the north."
"a poem is a thing that will be."
"a poem is something that never is, but that it should be."
"A poem is something that it have never been, that could never be."
"Run from the sublime externality if you don't want to die squashed by the wind."
I used to challenge my students with the first verse-poem to tease their attention and make them fall into the rabitt hole of the Hispanic realm.
"Los cuatro puntos cardinales son tres, el sur y el norte." The inmediate obvious question was how four could be three and then also two. And why was south and north instead of north and south, as usually is said. I used to point out that the poet, Vicente Huidobro was from Chile and possibly considered his cardinal point the one at the top. Sometimes students grew bold enough to mention other continents or regions that could see the north side of our planet as down under instead of up there.
But wait a minute. What happened to east and west? The discussion always got heated by this interjection. We would talk about the Middle East and if that term could be considered an anachronism of sorts, since is west of Los Angeles, Australia, Japan, India and so forth. My students hesitated a lot before acknowledging that west and east were only relative terms defined in relation to the speaker's circumstances. "You mean, like, west and east are not that real." Bonus point to the one that would come up with that. After that comment, it was easier for them to find out that the third cadinal point was the speaker. Bonus point for that too. Extra bonus to the one that finds out what could be the third cardinal point. That was the hardest for them to figure, but from time to time one trepidating voice would dare to venture. Center?
Center. It is always us, the individual, the center of the compas. It is true that east and west don't exist. Like a poem, is something that could never be. But south and north, or north and south always would be relative to where the center is.
My six grade teacher used to show us a globe to point out America del Norte and its three countries, Canada, United States and Mexico. Now that I live in the United States, Mexico is not part of North America, is part of the south, even for the southern states that declared war to the north part of North America of which Canada is not part of.
When I go to my country, Florida is up north, but Mexico is west. I am now in the south in Virginia, north of my mother who lives in Texas. She is the one down south. I have a sister in New York. She is the one up north.
East and west were probably born when Europe was the center . They traced a belt around the world belly, like a virtual road to go beyond the limits, and when those limits were broken, the concept of north grew stronger as the supreme cardinal point. A direction we all want to go or should want to go.
On the last verse, the chilean poet, Vicente Huidobro, warns us of the dangers of extreme polarizacion. "run from the sublime externality". Is better to go inward instead of upward as Spanish philosopher Miguel de Unamuno urges us "do not go upward, go inward. "Arriba no, Adentro!"
«Los cuatro puntos cardinales son tres; el sur y el norte».
«Un poema es una cosa que será».
«Un poema es una cosa que nunca es, pero que debiera ser».
«Un poema es una cosa que nunca ha sido, que nunca podrá ser».
«Huye del sublime externo si no quieres morir aplastado por el viento».