“Reduced to its simplest and most essential form, the poem is song. Song is neither discourse nor explanation. In the short poem—jarcha, haiku, epigram, chueh-chu, copla—the background and most of the circumstances that are the cause or object of the songs are omitted. . . . Is there such a thing as a purely earthly epic, one uncontaminated by supernatural intervention and divine genealogy? It is said that the Cantar de mio Cid is a realistic poem. No, Realism is a modern concept . . . “

 —Octavio Paz

from The Other Voice (1990)