Elegy :: J. L. Borges

Oh destiny of Borges
to have sailed across the diverse seas of the world
or across that single and solitary sea of diverse names,
to have been a part of Edinburgh, or Zurich, of the two Cordobas,
of Columbia and of Texas,
to have returned at the end of changing generations
to the ancient lands of his forebears,
to Andalucia, to Portugal and to those counties
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 stranger than your own.

(1964)

[Translated by D. A. Y.]

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