This work is from the last of several collaborations between the Mexican poet Octavio Paz and Robert Motherwell. Three Poems is, as the title suggests, three poems Paz wrote upon his return to Mexico in 1967—while on vacation with Motherwell—after many years abroad. Throughout his career, Motherwell collaborated with other poets and many of his works were born from works of literature from the likes of James Joyce, T.S. Eliot and Federico García Lorca. Three Poems included twenty-seven lithographs by Motherwell and used complex processes of typesetting, papermaking and binding. 

Paz's poetry, in its richness, humanism, explosiveness, and liberation, owes something to the surrealists' effort to reach the preconscious and unconscious, where most of our being lives. I have spent my artistic life trying to reach beyond the merely formal. In this aspiration, Paz has already succeeded.

Robert Motherwell

Piel del mundo, sonido del mundo (for Motherwell)

Skin of the World, Sound of the World (for Motherwell) by Octavio Paz

Negro sobre blanco,
el gigante grano de polen
entre las grietas del tiempo,
entre las fallas de la conciencia.
Gruesas gotas
negras    blancas:
lluvia de simientes.
El árbol semántico,
planta pasional
mente sacudida,
llueve hojas digitales:
río de manos
sobre hacia entre.
Gotas de tinta mental.
La lluvia roja
empapa hasta los huesos
la palabra España,
palabra calcárea;
el cisne de los aignos,
el tintero de las transfiguraciones,
dados de sombra sobre la tela;
la llamita roja de lengua azul,
en la eminencia del pubis,
dispara se kikiriki:
Je t'aime con pan y metáforas de pan,
Je t'aime
y te ato con interminables cintas de metonimias,
Je t'aime entre paréntesis imantados,
caída en esta página,
en el mar de las perplejidades.

Black on white,
the great grain of pollen
in the cracks of time,
in the clefts of consciousness.
Thick drops
black    white:
rain of seeds.
The semantic tree,
passion plant,
seminal mind,
rains finger-shaped leaves:
a river of hands
over toward between.
Mental inkdrops.
Red rain
drenching to the bone
the word España,
calcareous word;
swan of signs,
the inkwell of transfigurations
shadow-dice against the canvas;
the red flame with a blue tongue
on the public hill
crows kikiriki
Je t'aime with bread and metaphors for bread,
Je t'aime
I tie you with endless ribbons of metonymies,
Je t'aime between magnetic parentheses,
fallen on this page,
in a sea of perplexities.