Daniel Dockery

animî nostrî dêbent interdum âlûcinâri

Home of published musician, recording artist, mathematician, programmer, translator, artist, classicist, and general polymath.
A Poem by Borges • Daniel Dockery

A Poem by Borges

March 21st, 2011

On 2 October 1980, Borges published a small poem in two parts, front and back, which ran:

Anverso

Dormías. Te despierto.
La gran mañana depara la ilusión de un principio.
Te habías olvidado de Virgilio. Ahí están los hexámetros.
Te traigo muchas cosas.
Las cuatro raíces del griego: la tierra, el agua, el fuego, el aire.
Un solo nombre de mujer.
La amistad de la luna.
Los claros colores del atlas.
El olvido, que purifica.
La memoria que elige y que redescubre.
El hábito que nos ayuda a sentir que somos inmortales.
La esfera y las agujas que parcelan el inasible tiempo.
La fragancia del sándalo.
Las dudas que llamamos, no sin alguna vanidad, metafísica.
La curva del bastón que tu mano espera.
El sabor de las uvas y de la miel.

Reverso

Recordar a quien duerme
es un acto común y cotidiano
que podría hacernos temblar.
Recordar a quien duerme
es imponer a otro la interminable
prisión del universo
de su tiempo sin ocaso ni aurora.
Es revelarle que es alguien o algo
que está sujeto a un nombre que lo publica
y a un cúmulo de ayeres.
Es inquietar su eternidad.
Es cargarlo de siglos y de esterllas.
Es restituir al tiempo otro Lázaro
cargado de memoria.
Es infamar el agua del Leteo.

Jorge Luis Borges, “Poema”

I would render it,

Obverse

You were asleep. I wake you.
The vast morning brings the illusion of a beginning.
You had forgotten Virgil. Here are the hexameters.
(With that) I bring you many things—
the four Greek elements: earth, water, fire, air;
a single name of a woman;
the friendship of the moon;
the bright colors of the atlas;
forgetting, which purifies;
memory, which chooses and rediscovers;
the habits which help us feel we are immortal;
the sphere and the hands that measure elusive time;
the fragrance of sandalwood;
the doubts that we call, not without some vanity, metaphysics;
the curve of the walking stick the hand waits for;
the taste of grapes and of honey.

Reverse

To wake someone from sleep
is a common day-to-day act
that can set us trembling.
To wake someone from sleep
is to impose on someone the interminable
prison of the universe
of his time, with neither sunset nor dawn.
It is to show him he is someone or something
subject to a name that lays claim to him
and to an accumulation of yesterdays.
It is to trouble his eternity.
It is to load him down with centuries and stars.
It is to restore to time another Lazarus,
burdened with memory.
It is to desecrate the waters of Lethe.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

Daniel Dockery

animî nostrî dêbent interdum âlûcinâri

Home of published musician, recording artist, mathematician, programmer, translator, artist, classicist, and general polymath.

If you enjoy the original research and material I provide here, perhaps consider a small tip. Anything is appreciated.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com