Friday, October 26, 2007


More Things

Thanks to Byron Bussey, who writes:
When I read Ivor Gurney's Common Things, I immediately thought of Borges' more plainly titled version, Things:

translation by Stephen Kessler

My cane, my pocket change, this ring of keys,
The obedient lock, the belated notes
The few days left to me will not find time
To read, the deck of cards, the tabletop,
A book and crushed in its pages the withered
Violet, monument to an afternoon
Undoubtedly unforgettable, now forgotten,
The mirror in the west where a red sunrise
Blazes its illusion. How many things,
Files, doorsills, atlases, wine glasses, nails,
Serve us like slaves who never say a word,
Blind and so mysteriously reserved.
They will endure beyond our vanishing;
And they will never know that we have gone.
Here is Borges' original poem:
Las cosas

El bastón, las monedas, el llavero,
la dócil cerradura, las tardías
notas que no leerán los pocos días
que me quedan, los naipes y el tablero,
un libro y en sus páginas la ajada
violeta, monumento de una tarde
sin duda inolvidable y ya olvidada,
el rojo espejo occidental en que arde
una ilusoria aurora. ¡Cuántas cosas,
láminas, umbrales, atlas, copas, clavos,
nos sirven como tácitos esclavos,
ciegas y extrañamente sigilosas!
Durarán más allá de nuestro olvido;
no sabrán nunca que nos hemos ido.

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