Elvira de Alvear :: J. L. Borges

All things she possessed and slowly
All things left her. We have seen her
Armed with loveliness. The morning
And the strenuous midday showed her,
At her summit, the handsome kingdoms
Of the earth. The afternoon was clouding them.
The friendly stars (the infinite
And ubiquitous mesh of causes) granted her
That wealth which annuls all distance
Like the magic carpet, and which makes
Desire and possesssion one; and a skill in verse
That transforms our actual sorrows
Into a music, a hearsay, and a symbol;
And granted fervor, and into her blood the battle
Of Ituzaingo and the heaviness of laurels;
And the joy of losing herself in the wandering
River of time (river and labyrinth),
And in the slow tints of afternoons.
All things left her, all
But one. Her highborn courtliness
Accompanied her to the end of the journey,
Beyond the rapture and its eclipse,
In a way like an angel’s. Of Elvira
The first thing that I saw, such years ago,
Was her smile and also it was the last.

[From Dreamtigers, by Jorge Luis Borges, translated by Harold Morland]

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