melting & burning


Simplicity – Borges
December 8, 2013, 11:36 am
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Opens the garden gate
docilely as a page
a frequent devotion interrogates
and inside the glance
need not fix on objects
now firmly in memory.
I know each custom and soul
and that dialect of allusions
every human aggregation weaves.
I need not speak
nor lie about privileges;
well they know me hereabouts,
my anguish and weakness.
This is as high as one may reach,
what Heaven perhaps will grant us:
neither admiration nor victories
but merely to be admitted
as part of undeniable Reality
like stones and trees.

Translated by Christopher Mulrooney

 

Llaneza

A Haydée Lange

Se abre la verja del jardín
con la docilidad de la página
que una frecuente devoción interroga
y adentro las miradas
no precisan fijarse en los objetos
que ya están cabalmente en la memoria.
Conozco las costumbres y las almas
y ese dialecto de alusiones
que toda agrupación humana va urdiendo.
No necesito hablar
ni mentir privilegios;
bien me conocen quienes aquí me rodean,
bien saben mis congojas y mi flaqueza,
Eso es alcanzar lo más alto,
lo que tal vez nos dará el Cielo:
no admiraciones ni victorias
sino sencillamente ser admitidos
como parte de una Realidad innegable,
como las piedras y los árboles.



Shinto – Borges
December 8, 2013, 11:25 am
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When sorrow lays us low
for a second we are saved
by humble windfalls
of the mindfulness or memory:
the taste of a fruit, the taste of water,
that face given back to us by a dream,
the first jasmine of November,
the endless yearning of the compass,
a book we thought was lost,
the throb of a hexameter,
the slight key that opens a house to us,
the smell of a library, or of sandalwood,
the former name of a street,
the colors of a map,
an unforeseen etymology,
the smoothness of a filed fingernail,
the date we were looking for,
the twelve dark bell-strokes, tolling as we count,
a sudden physical pain.

Eight million Shinto deities
travel secretly throughout the earth.
Those modest gods touch us–
touch us and move on.

 

Cuando nos anonada la desdicha,
durante un segundo nos salvan
las aventuras ínfimas
de la atención o de la memoria:
el sabor de una fruta, el sabor del agua,
esa cara que un sueño nos devuelve,
los primeros jazmines de noviembre,
el anhelo infinito de la brújula,
un libro que creíamos perdido,
el pulso de un hexámetro,
la breve llave que nos abre una casa,
el olor de una biblioteca o del sándalo,
el nombre antiguo de una calle,
los colores de un mapa,
una etimología imprevista,
la lisura de la uña limada,
la fecha que buscábamos,
contar las doce campanadas oscuras,
un brusco dolor físico.

Ocho millones son las divinidades del Shinto
que viajan por la tierra, secretas.
Esos modestos númenes nos tocan,
nos tocan y nos dejan



November 4, 2013, 5:49 am
Filed under: quote | Tags: ,

“i wish i were the night so that i might watch your sleep with a thousand eyes”

(attributed to Plato by Borges)



July 18, 2012, 9:10 am
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One is allowed to change the past: the present is so stubborn -Borges



Two English Poems – Jorge Luis Borges
April 26, 2011, 3:25 am
Filed under: poem | Tags: ,

I

The useless dawn finds me in a deserted street-
corner; I have outlived the night.
Nights are proud waves; darkblue topheavy waves
laden with all the hues of deep spoil, laden with
things unlikely and desirable.
Nights have a habit of mysterious gifts and refusals,
of things half given away, half withheld,
of joys with a dark hemisphere. Nights act
that way, I tell you.
The surge, that night, left me the customary shreds
and odd ends: some hated friends to chat
with, music for dreams, and the smoking of
bitter ashes. The things my hungry heart
has no use for.
The big wave brought you.
Words, any words, your laughter; and you so lazily
and incessantly beautiful. We talked and you
have forgotten the words.
The shattering dawn finds me in a deserted street
of my city.
Your profile turned away, the sounds that go to
make your name, the lilt of your laughter:
these are the illustrious toys you have left me.
I turn them over in the dawn, I lose them, I find
them; I tell them to the few stray dogs and
to the few stray stars of the dawn.
Your dark rich life …
I must get at you, somehow; I put away those
illustrious toys you have left me, I want your
hidden look, your real smile — that lonely,
mocking smile your cool mirror knows.

II

What can I hold you with?
I offer you lean streets, desperate sunsets, the
moon of the jagged suburbs.
I offer you the bitterness of a man who has looked
long and long at the lonely moon.
I offer you my ancestors, my dead men, the ghosts
that living men have honoured in bronze:
my father’s father killed in the frontier of
Buenos Aires, two bullets through his lungs,
bearded and dead, wrapped by his soldiers in
the hide of a cow; my mother’s grandfather
–just twentyfour– heading a charge of
three hundred men in Peru, now ghosts on
vanished horses.
I offer you whatever insight my books may hold,
whatever manliness or humour my life.
I offer you the loyalty of a man who has never
been loyal.
I offer you that kernel of myself that I have saved,
somehow –the central heart that deals not
in words, traffics not with dreams, and is
untouched by time, by joy, by adversities.
I offer you the memory of a yellow rose seen at
sunset, years before you were born.
I offer you explanations of yourself, theories about
yourself, authentic and surprising news of
yourself.
I can give you my loneliness, my darkness, the
hunger of my heart; I am trying to bribe you
with uncertainty, with danger, with defeat.



Limits – Jorge Luis Borges
April 26, 2011, 3:13 am
Filed under: poem | Tags: , ,

Of all the streets that blur in to the sunset,
There must be one (which, I am not sure)
That I by now have walked for the last time
Without guessing it, the pawn of that Someone

Who fixes in advance omnipotent laws,
Sets up a secret and unwavering scale
for all the shadows, dreams, and forms
Woven into the texture of this life.

If there is a limit to all things and a measure
And a last time and nothing more and forgetfulness,
Who will tell us to whom in this house
We without knowing it have said farewell?

Through the dawning window night withdraws
And among the stacked books which throw
Irregular shadows on the dim table,
There must be one which I will never read.

There is in the South more than one worn gate,
With its cement urns and planted cactus,
Which is already forbidden to my entry,
Inaccessible, as in a lithograph.

There is a door you have closed forever
And some mirror is expecting you in vain;
To you the crossroads seem wide open,
Yet watching you, four-faced, is a Janus.

There is among all your memories one
Which has now been lost beyond recall.
You will not be seen going down to that fountain
Neither by white sun nor by yellow moon.

You will never recapture what the Persian
Said in his language woven with birds and roses,
When, in the sunset, before the light disperses,
You wish to give words to unforgettable things.

And the steadily flowing Rhone and the lake,
All that vast yesterday over which today I bend?
They will be as lost as Carthage,
Scourged by the Romans with fire and salt.

At dawn I seem to hear the turbulent
Murmur of crowds milling and fading away;
They are all I have been loved by, forgotten by;
Space, time, and Borges now are leaving me.

original.. 

De estas calles que ahondan el poniente,
una habrá (no sé cuál) que he recorrido
ya por última vez, indiferente
y sin adivinarlo, sometido

a quién prefiera omnipotentes normas
y una secreta y rígida medida
a las sombras, los sueños y las formas
que destejen y tejen esta vida.

Si para todo hay término y hay tasa
y última vez y nunca más y olvido
¿quién nos dirá de quién, en esta casa,
sin saberlo, nos hemos despedido?

Tras el cristal ya gris la noche cesa
y del alto de libros que una trunca
sombra dilatada por la vaga mesa,
alguno habrá que no leeremos nunca.

Hay en el sur más de un portón gastado
con sus jarrones de mampostería
y tunas, que a mi paso está vedado
como si fuera una litografía.

Para siempre cerraste alguna puerta
y hay un espejo que se aguarda en vano;
la encrucijada te parece abierta
y la vigila, cuadrifronte, Jano.

Hay, entre todas tus memorias, una
que se ha perdido irreparablemente;
no te verán bajar a aquella fuente
ni el blanco sol ni la amarilla luna.

No volverá tu voz a lo que el persa
dijo en su lengua de aves y de rosas,
cuando el ocaso, ante la luz dispersa,
quieras decir inolvidables cosas.

¿Y el incesante Ródano y el lago,
todo ese ayer sobre el cual hoy me inclino?
Tan perdido estará como Cartago
que con fuego y con sal borró el latino.

Creo en el alba oír un atareado
rumor de multitudes que se alejan;
son los que me han querido y olvidado;
espacio y tiempo y Borges ya me dejan.



The Threatened – Jorge Luis Borges
April 26, 2011, 3:11 am
Filed under: poem | Tags: ,

It is love. I will have to run or hide.

The walls of its prison rise up, as in a twisted dream. The beautiful mask has changed, but as always it is the one. Of what use are my talismans: the literary exercises, the vague erudition, the knowledge of words used by the harsh North to sing its seas and swords, the temperate friendship, the galleries of the Library, the common things, the habits, the young love of my mother, the militant shadow of my dead, the timeless night, the taste of dreams?

Being with you or being without you is the measure of my time.

Now the pitcher breaks about the spring, now the man arises to the sound of birds, now those that watch at the windows have gone dark, but the darkness has brought no peace.

It, I know, is love: the anxiety and the relief at hearing your voice, the expectation and the memory, the horror of living in succession.

It is love with its mythologies, with its tiny useless magics.

There exists a corner that I dare not cross.

Now the armies confine me, the hordes.

(This room is unreal; she has not seen it.)

The name of a woman gives me away.

A woman hurts me in all of my body.

El amenazado

Es el amor. Tendré que ocultarme o que huir.

Crecen los muros de su cárcel, como en un sueño atroz. La hermosa máscara ha cambiado, pero como siempre es la única. De que me servirán mis talismanes: el ejercicio de las letras, la vaga erudición, el aprendizaje de las palabras que uso, el áspero Norte para cantar sus mares y sus espadas, la serena amistad, las galerías de la Biblioteca, las cosas comunes, los hábitos, el joven amor d e mi madre, la sombra militar de mis muertos, la noche intemporal, el sabor del sueño?

Estar contigo o no estar contigo es la medida de mi tiempo.

Ya el cántaro se quiebra sobre la fuente, ya el hombre se levanta a la voz del ave, ya se han oscurecido los que miran por las ventanas, pero la sombra no ha traído la paz.

Es, ya lo se, el amor: la ansiedad y el alivio de oír tu voz, la espera y la memoria, el horror de vivir en lo sucesivo.

Es el amor con sus mitologías, con sus pequeñas magias inútiles.

Hay una esquina por la que no me atrevo a pasar.

Ya los ejércitos me cercan, las hordas.

(Esta habitación es irreal; ella no la ha visto.)

El nombre de una mujer me delata.

Me duele una mujer en todo el cuerpo.