Meaning of the poem 'Brotherhood' by Octavio Paz?

I have to write a 750-1000 word commentary on the poem 'Brotherhood' by the Mexican poet, Octavio Paz. If you have studied the poem before or think you know what its meaning/metophors and such are, please help me out. Thank you so much!


I am a man: little do I last

and the night is enormous.

But I look up:

the stars write.

Unknowing I understand:

I too am written,

and at this very moment

someone spells me out.

--Octavio Paz.


What made Paz great is that he was always a poet in search of the truth that was greater than man's ability to reason and for images that were beyond the grasp of mere words.

These quotes from some of his essays may give you supporting evidence.

"If we are a metaphor of the universe, the human couple is the metaphor par excellence, the point of intersection of all forces and the seed of all forms. The couple is time recaptured, the return to the time before time. "

"Solitude is the profoundest fact of the human condition. Man is the only being who knows he is alone."

--'little do I last and the night is enormous' the poet wonders what his place in a world is, when the forces contain so much more power than he possesses.

--'unknowing i understand' the truth lies outside of man's inconsequential ability to reason

You could read this from the Christian perspective as Man being written in the Book of Life, or simply as man's acknowledgement of a higher power which could as easily be nature as the god of any religion.

What provides the speakers link to this greatness is that brotherhood with the same life that is in the world around him. he has a choice between accepting that he is small and inconsequential, or that no one is a island, the fact that we are all linked in this great world means the world would be diminished however slightly without one of us in it. That is the route the speaker chooses.


Sometimes when people look at the stars they feel one with life. Though man's life is short and spends an eternity in the night, he will live on as a part of all of life and in the stars that are being created at this very moment.