Sunday, April 02, 2017

Two days in Mexico City

Traveller's palm/Parabola of movement is a poem by Octavio Paz. It's a  short, graphic poem, published in 1968 and some of its lines go like this (all caps):


                                                   WHERE I CAME FROM WHERE ARE YOU GOING?

All good questions that may come to mind, say, on a day when your plane is on approach to a busy airport.

But no, none of Octavio Paz's poems were humming in my ears on the descent to Mexico City.

I was pinned to my chair, pounded into the ground (so to speak) in fascination and mild fear by a vision unlike any other.

Was this a cloud, now becoming visible in the airplane's window? 

Were the sketch-like lines a fantasy of the cumulonimbus formations, or...was it something else, more ominous and more forbidding in its nature?

It was a ginormous and overwhelming volcano that stretched from heaven to earth, in off-white tones, dwarfing everything under the sun.

Popocatepetl - Credit and copyright: Photo By PopoAmeca2.JPG: AlejandroLinaresGarciaderivative work: Ricraider (talk)by ricraider - PopoAmeca2.JPG, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Its name came naturally to me, although the enormity of the mountain (standing 17,802 ft) was anything but.

This was my introduction to Mexico City.

As my plane landed, it dawned on me that for the next few days, while in Mexico City, in the proximity of Popocatepetl, I would be yet another humble prey for the Aztec gods. 

Cannon fodder  (avant-la-lettre as it were) to them.

Colourful, cheerful, imaginative - that's how the city whisked by in the car windows:

My short time there was spent in Santa Fe, an area of the city that boasts shiny new buildings, not far from the Avenida de los Poetas (the avenue of poets).

"The crackling of the last embers
in the grass: stubborn insects.
Over the yellow meadows,
the glass footsteps of autumn.

A fortuitous meeting of reflections,
an ephemeral bird
enters the foliage of these letters."

(Octavio Paz - A Draft of Shadows)

My traveller's palm and parabolas of movement may have seized on such reflections while my journey drew to an end.

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