Sunday, June 23, 2013

940. James Joyce - Jorge Luis Borges

Translated from the Spanish by Stephen Kessler


In one day of mankind are all the days
of time, from that unimaginable
first day of time, when a formidable
God prearranged the days and agonies,
to that other day when the perpetual river
of earthly time flows round to its headwaters,
the Eternal, and is extinguished in the present,
the future, the past, the passing—what is now mine.
The story of the world is told from dawn
to darkness. From the depths of night I've seen
at my feet the wanderings of the Jews,
Carthage destroyed, Hell, and Heaven's bliss.
Grant me, Lord, the courage and the joy
I need to scale the summit of this day.
                        —Cambridge, 1968

Thursday, June 06, 2013

939. Freedom - William Stafford

Freedom is not following a river.
Freedom is following a river,
    though, if you want to.
It is deciding now by what happens now.
It is knowing that luck makes a difference.

No leader is free, no follower is free—
    the rest of us can often be free.
Most of the world are living by
creeds too odd, chancy, and habit forming
    to be worth arguing about by reason.

If you are oppressed, wake up about
four in the morning: most places,
you can usually be free some of the time
    if you wake up before other people.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

938. Places We Love - Ivan V. Lalić

Translated from the Serbo-Croat by Francis R. Jones

Places we love exist only through us,
Space destroyed is only illusion in the constancy of time,
Places we love we can never leave,
Places we love together, together, together,

And is this room really a room, or an embrace,
And what is beneath the window: a street or years?
And the window is only the imprint left by
The first rain we understood, returning endlessly,

And this wall does not define the room, but perhaps the night
Your son began to move in your sleeping blood,
A son like a butterfly of flame in your hall of mirrors,
The night you were frightened by your own light,

And this door leads into any afternoon
Which outlives it, forever peopled
With your casual movements, as you stepped,
Like fire into copper, into my only memory;

When you go, space closes over like water behind you,
Do not look back: there is nothing outside you,
Space is only time visible in a different way,
Places we love we can never leave.