Jorge Luis Borges: “El sur / The South”


Desde uno de tus patios haber mirado
las antiguas estrellas,
desde el banco de
la sombra haber mirado
esas luces dispersas
que mi ignorancia no ha aprendido a nombrar
ni a ordenar en contelaciones,
haber sentido el circulo del agua
en el secreto aljibe,
el olor del jazmin y la madreselva,
el silencio del pájaro dormido,
el arco del zanguán, la hemedad
–esas cosas, acaso, son el poema.

Jorge Luis Borges (b. 24 August 1899)

(de la edición 1969 de Fervor de Buenos Aires)

Photo: Now walkin’ home on those streets by silkegb


To have watched from one of your patios
the ancient stars,
from the bench of shadow to have watched
those scattered lights
that my ignorance has learned no names for
nor their places in constellations,
to have heard the note of water
in the cistern,
known the scent of jasmine and honeysuckle,
the silence of the sleeping bird,
the arch of the entrance, the damp
–these things perhaps are the poem.

Translation by William S. Merwin


~ by matt on 24 August 2008.

2 Responses to “Jorge Luis Borges: “El sur / The South””

  1. Beautiful!!! I am a Borges fan and at the moment translating a book of his conversations to my native tongue.

  2. […] for William S. Merwin’s translation, check out: […]

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Natalie E. Illum...

is a poet, performer and disability activist. Bring her stumbling to your city.


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