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English Poem by Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986)

 
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Smee



Joined: 27 Feb 2003
Posts: 33

PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2003 12:07 pm    Post subject: English Poem by Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986) Reply with quote

I have found this poem by Borges who was a famous Argentine writer and poet. Although his native languaje was Spanish this poem, written in English, has touched me and I want to share it with you.

English Poem by Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986)

What can I hold you with?
I offer you lean streets, desperate sunsets, the moon
of the jagged 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 bronze:
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 charge of three hundred men in Peru, now
ghosts on vanished horses.
I offer you whatever insight my books may hold,
whatever manliness 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 –that 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 a 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 huger
of my heart; I am trying to bribe you with
uncertainty, with danger, with defeat.

Regards.
Jorge
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oinrocinu



Joined: 18 Dec 2003
Posts: 76
Location: Barcelona, Spain

PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2003 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Uau... my language is Spanish too and I remember that some years ago I tried to do a poem in English and it was absolutely impossible. The poem it's really pretty.

Lola
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Smee



Joined: 27 Feb 2003
Posts: 33

PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2003 1:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes Lola, Borges was a remarkably skillful writer and also a translator from English into Spanish. It is not common for a Spanish spoken writer to write in another language but Borges did it and the outcome was lovely as we can see. Do you know some other works by him?
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oinrocinu



Joined: 18 Dec 2003
Posts: 76
Location: Barcelona, Spain

PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2004 3:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I read, some years ago, "El aleph" and I enjoyed with it. It's one of the most konwn books of Borges.

If you understand (or speak) Spanish, I recommend you to read some book of another argetinian writer: Julio Cortazar. Well, I think that there is an English translation of "Historias de cronopios y famas" and in English is called "Cronopios and famas". If you find it, read it. I assure you that it's really good (and funny).

L.
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Ayaba



Joined: 10 Jan 2004
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2004 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You should note that Borges' upbringing was uncommon, since he learned Spanish and English almost at the same time, speaking English with a member of his family and Spanish with other members of his household, at times simultaneously.

Confused
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Smee



Joined: 27 Feb 2003
Posts: 33

PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2004 10:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Ayaba,

As you seem to know a few things about Borges, do you mind if I ask you something?
The other day I ran across a short story by Borges called “Las ruinas circulares” (“The Circular Ruins”) and I was challenged by my classmates to translate its epigraph into Spanish (It happens that the epigraph is in English because Borges quoted it from the book “Through The Looking-Glass”). That epigraph reads as follows: “…if I left dreaming about you...”. If you read the story you will find that there is connection between the paragraph and the issue of the story because there is a character who can aim or command his dreams in order to create other individuals. I wonder if the verb “to dream” in English admits that particular meaning, I mean: Can you command your dreams?

In Spanish, when you say “I dreamed about you” it could mean two things, “I desired you” or “I had a dream in which you were present” but you can’t command a dream as you can command a thought, at least without much reality strain, so the outcome of my translation was something like this: “ …if I left thinking of you…”

I haven’t read the story “Through The Looking-Glass” by Lewis Carol, Smile it may be that the right answer is there. What is your opinion?

Regards,
Jorge Smile
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