Friday, October 01, 2010

Reading Borges

I'm currently reading through some of Borges' poetry; here's one that I enjoyed this evening. The last six lines in particular struck me. If you are interested in the poetry of time, mortality, death, and love, read Borges; you will enjoy his writing--even in translation!

Unknown Street

"The twilight of the dove"
the Hebrews called the fall of evening,
when darkness does not yet hinder our steps
and the oncoming night makes itself felt
like an old, longed-for music,
like a welcome downward path.
In that hour when the light has the fineness of sand,
I happened on a street unknown to me,
ample and broadly terraced,
whose walls and cornices
took on the pastel color of the sky
that nudged the horizon.
Everything--the drab houses,
the crude banisters, the doorknockers,
perhaps the hopes of a girl dreaming on a balcony--
all entered into my vain heart
with the clarity of tears.
Perhaps that moment of the silver evening
suffused the street with a tenderness,
making it as vivid as a verse
forgotten and now remembered.
Only later did I come to think
that the street of that afternoon was not mine,
that every house is a branching candlestick
where the lives of men burn
like single candles,
that each haphazard step we take
treads on Golgothas.

Jorge Luis Borges
--from Selected Poems
Viking Press, 1999
Trans. Alexander Coleman

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