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The great Borges!


TWO ENGLISH POEMS
I
The useless dawn finds me in a deserted streetcorner; I have
outlived the night.
Nights are proud waves: darkblue topheavy waves laden with all
hues of deep spoil, laden with things unlikely and desirable.
Nights have a habit of mysterious gifts and refusals, of things
half given away, half, withheld, of joys with a dark
hemisphere. Nights act that way, I tell you.
The surge, that night, left me the customary shreds and odd
ends: some hated friends to chat with, music for dreams,
and the smoking of bitter ashes. The things my hungry
heart has no use for.
The big wave brought you.
Words, any words, your laughter; and you so lazily and incessantly
beautiful. We talked and you have forgotten the words.
The shattering dawn finds me in a deserted street of my city.
Your profile turned away, the sounds that go to make your name,
the lilt of your laughter: these are illustrious toys
you have left me.
I turn them over in the dawn, I lose them, I find them; I tell
them to the few stray dogs and to the few stray stars
of the dawn.
Your dark rich life…
I must get at you, somehow: I put away those illustrious toys
you have left me, I want your hidden look, your real smile
—that lonely, mocking smile your cool mirror knows.


II
What can I hold you with?
I offer you lean streets, desperate sunsets, the moon of ragged
suburbs.
I offer you the bitterness of a man who has looked long and long
at the lonely moon.
I offer you my ancestors, my dead men, the ghosts that living men
have honoured in marble: my father’s father killed in the
frontier of Buenos Aires, two bullets through his lungs,
bearded and dead, wrapped by his soldiers in the hide
of a cow; my mother’s grandfather –just twenty four-
heading a charged of three hundred men in Peru, now
ghosts on vanished horses.
I offer you whatever insight my books may hold, whatever man-
liness or humour my life.
I offer you the loyalty of a man who has never been loyal.
I offer you that kernel of myself that I have saved, somehow –the
central heart that deals not in words, traffics not with
dreams and is untouched by time, by joy, by adversities.
I offer you the memory of yellow rose seen at sunset, years
before you were born.
I offer you explanations of yourself,
theories about yourself, authentic and surprising news of yourself.
I can give you my loneliness, my darkness, the hunger of my
heart; I am trying to bribe you with
uncertainty, with danger, with defeat.
1934
— Jorge Luis Borges, from the book 'El otro, el mismo'

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