Friday Poetry: Borges

Elegy

Oh destiny of Borges
to have sailed across the diverse seas of the world
or cross that single and solitary sea of diverse names
to have been a part of Edinburgh, of Zurich, of the
two Cordobas,
of Colombia and of Texas,
to have returned at the end of changing generations
to the ancient land of his forbears,
to Andalucia, to Portugal, and to those countries
tro de una muchacha de Buenos Aires,
where the Saxon warred with the Dane and they
mixed their blood,
to have wandered through the red and tranquil
labyrinth of London,
to have grown old in so many mirrors,
to have sought in vain the marble gaze of the statues,
to have questioned lithographs, encyclopedias,
atlases,
to have seen the things that men see:
death, the sluggish dawn, the plains,
and the delicate stars,
and to have seen nothing, or almost nothing,
except the face of a girl from Buenos Aires,
a face that does not want you to remember it.
Oh, destiny of Borges,
perhaps no different from your own.

Jorge Luis Borges
(1963)

Here’s the original Spanish, after the jump:

Elegía

Oh destino el de Borges,
haber navegado por los diversos mares del mundo
o por el único y solitario mar de nombres diversos,
haber sido una parte de Edimburgo, de Zürich, de las dos Córdobas,
de Colombia y de Texas,
haber regresado, al cabo de cambiantes generaciones,
a las antiguas tierras de su estirpe,
a Andalucía, a Portugal y a aquellos condados
donde el sajón guerreó con el danés y mezclaron sus sangres,
haber errado por el rojo y tranquilo laberinto de Londres,
haber envejecido en tantos espejos,
haber buscado en vano la mirada de mármol de las estatuas,
haber examinado litografías, enciclopedias, atlas,
haber visto las cosas que ven los hombres,
la muerte, el torpe amanecer, la llanura
y las delicadas estrellas,
y no haber visto nada o casi nada
sino el rostro de una muchacha de Buenos Aires,
un rostro que no quiere que lo recuerde.
Oh destino de Borges, tal vez no más extraño que el tuyo.

Bogotá, 1963


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