Two Aspects of Jorge Luis Borges

Translated from the Spanish by
Evelyn Hooven (July 2019)


Jorge Luis Borges and Kitty (photographer unknown)

 
 
The poet, so frequently, of quest and affirming praise becomes
in “Remorse” the voice of assertive, extravagant self-dismissal
and accusation, meriting grandiose punishment.  The perspective
goes far beyond any more traditional art-life dichotomy or regret
for paths untrodden.  Such vehemence of culpability remains
disquieting even if one truthfully receives it as an aspect of Borges’
willingness to entertain all possibilities, even rejection of his own
(mighty) poetic faculties for not serving, as intended by his forbears,
worldly daring and valor.
 
Trying, in “End,” to define his physical locale quickly becomes
a total quest to contain the burden of memories and to locate his
own voice.  We inevitably recognize familiar Borges terrain in the
entreaty against oblivion.

 
Remorse
 
I have committed the worst of sins
that a man can commit. I have not been
happy. Let glaciers of oblivion
encircle and drop me, merciless.
My parents begot me for the game—
daring and lovely—of life itself,
for earth and water, for the air and fire.
I cheated them. I wasn’t happy.
I didn’t carry out their youthful will.
My mind applied itself to the obstinate
symmetries of art, that can interweave nothingness.
Valor was my legacy. I wasn’t valiant.
Always it’s at my side. It never leaves me,
the shade of having been a desolate man.
 
 
El Remordimiento
 
He cometido el peor de los pecados
que un hombre puede cometer. No he sido
feliz. Que los glaciares del olvido
me arrastren y me pierdan, despiadados.
Mis padres engendraron para el juego
arriesgado y hermoso de la vida,
para la tierra, el agua, el aire, el fuego.
Los defraudé. No fui feliz. Cumplida
no fue su joven voluntad. Mi mente
se aplicó a las simétricas porfías
del arte, que entreteje naderías.
Me legaron valor. No fui valiente
No me abandona. Siempre está a mi lado
la sombra de haber sido un desdichado.
 
 
End
 
The ancient boy, a man without history,
an orphan who might have been someone dead
makes use in vain of the deserted homestead.
(It was for two, today it’s for memory.
It is for two.) Under the harsh fate,
nearly lost, the man in pain looks for
the voice that was his voice. The miraculous
would be no more irregular than death.
They weigh him down interminably
the trivial and the sacred he recalls,
and they’re our destiny, these mortal
memories vast as a continent.
Make me, I ask of God, No One or Maybe,
boundaryless, not some oblivion.
 
 
El Fin
 
El hijo viejo, el hombre sin historia,
el huérfano que pudo ser el muerto,
agota en vano el caserón desierto.
(Fue de los dos y es hoy de la memoria.
Es de los dos.)  Bajo la dura suerte
busca perdido el hombre doloroso
la voz que fue su voz. Lo milagroso
no sería más raro que la muerte.
Lo acosarón interminablemente
los recuerdos sagrados y triviales
que son nuestro destino, esas mortales
memorias vastas como un continente.
Dios o Tal Vez o Nadie, yo le pido
su inagotable imagen, no el olvido.
 
 

____________________________
Evelyn Hooven graduated from Mount Holyoke College and received her M.A. from Yale University, where she also studied at The Yale School of Drama. A member of the Dramatists’ Guild, she has had presentations of her verse dramas at several theatrical venues, including The Maxwell Anderson Playwrights Series in Greenwich, CT (after a state-wide competition) and The Poet’s Theatre in Cambridge, MA (result of a national competition). Her poems and translations from the French have appeared in ART TIMES, Chelsea, The Literary Review, THE SHOp: A Magazine of Poetry (in Ireland), The Tribeca Poetry Review, Vallum (in Montreal), and other journals, and her literary criticism in Oxford University’s Essays in Criticism.

Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast
 
Comments
No comments yet.

Available on Amazon US
and Amazon UK


Available on Amazon
and Amazon UK.


Amazon donates to World Encounter Institute Inc when you shop at smile.amazon.com/ch/56-2572448. #AmazonSmile #StartWithaSmile

Subscribe

Categories

Adam Selene (1) A.J. Caschetta (7) Alexander Murinson (1) Andrew Harrod (2) Bat Ye'or (6) Brex I Teer (7) Brian of London (32) Christina McIntosh (862) Christopher DeGroot (2) Conrad Black (420) Daniel Mallock (4) David P. Gontar (7) David Solway (78) David Wemyss (1) Dexter Van Zile (74) Dr. Michael Welner (3) Emmet Scott (1) Eric Rozenman (3) Esmerelda Weatherwax (9331) Fergus Downie (5) Fred Leder (1) Friedrich Hansen (7) G. Murphy Donovan (59) Gary Fouse (121) Geert Wilders (13) Geoffrey Botkin (1) Geoffrey Clarfield (323) Hannah Rubenstein (3) Hossein Khorram (2) Hugh Fitzgerald (20816) Ibn Warraq (10) Ilana Freedman (2) James Como (18) James Robbins (1) James Stevens Curl (2) Janice Fiamengo (1) Jerry Gordon (2504) Jerry Gordon and Lt. Gen. Abakar M. Abdallah (1) Jesse Sandoval (1) John Constantine (119) John Hajjar (5) John M. Joyce (388) Jonathan Ferguson (1) Jonathan Hausman (4) Joseph S. Spoerl (10) Kenneth Lasson (1) Kenneth Timmerman (25) Lorna Salzman (9) Louis Rene Beres (37) Marc Epstein (7) Mark Anthony Signorelli (11) Mark Durie (7) Mary Jackson (5066) Matthew Hausman (39) Michael Curtis (547) Michael Rechtenwald (2) Mordechai Nisan (2) Moshe Dann (1) NER (2587) New English Review Press (25) Nidra Poller (73) Nonie Darwish (5) Norman Berdichevsky (86) Paul Weston (5) Paula Boddington (1) Peter McLoughlin (1) Philip Blake (1) Phyllis Chesler (49) Rebecca Bynum (7168) Richard Butrick (24) Richard Kostelanetz (16) Richard L. Benkin (21) Richard L. Cravatts (7) Richard L. Rubenstein (44) Robert Harris (84) Sally Ross (37) Sam Bluefarb (1) Sha’i ben-Tekoa (1) Springtime for Snowflakes (4) Stephen Schecter (1) Steve Hecht (25) Ted Belman (8) The Law (90) Theodore Dalrymple (826) Thomas J. Scheff (6) Thomas Ország-Land (3) Tom Harb (3) Tyler Curtis (1) Walid Phares (29) Winfield Myers (1) z - all below inactive (7) z - Ares Demertzis (2) z - Andrew Bostom (74) z - Andy McCarthy (536) z - Artemis Gordon Glidden (881) z - DL Adams (21) z - John Derbyshire (1013) z - Marisol Seibold (26) z - Mark Butterworth (49) z- Robert Bove (1189) zz - Ali Sina (2)
clear
Site Archive