And this is where the abyss begins

For this year’s World Poetry Day, I share with you the haunting words of Argentinian poet Roberto Juarroz (1925-1995). It seems especially fitting on this day to remember how vital it is for all of us to think of, and write about, each other…and how essential poetry is to imagining–and saving–the untold selves inhabiting this universe.


from First Vertical Poetry (1958)

I think that at this moment
maybe nobody in the universe is thinking about me,
I’m the only one who’s thinking me,
and if I were to die now
nobody, not even I, would think me.

And this is where the abyss begins,
as when I go to sleep.
I’m my own support and I take it away from me.
I help to curtain everything with absence.

That may be why
when you think of someone
it’s like saving them.

translated by W.S. Merwin