The courtyard

Jorge_Luis_Borges
Jorge Luis Borges

The courtyard

As night fell
the two or three colours of the courtyard grew tired.
This evening, the moon, the bright circle,
does not dominate its space.
Courtyard, funnelled sky.
The courtyard is the slope
down which the sky pours into the house.
Serene,
eternity awaits at the stars’ crossroad.
How pleasant to live in the obscure companionship
of a hallway, a water tank and a vine.

Jorge Luis Borges

Translated by John Lyons


Jorge Luis Borges (24 August 1899 – 14 June 1986) was an Argentine short-story writer, essayist, poet and translator, and a key figure in Hispanic Literature.  

 

The man on the corner

The man on the corner

So many things await us
           just around the corner :
the summer, the winter,
           spring, happiness,
a disappointment, even death
           or love or a dagger
to the heart

Everything awaits us
           around one corner or another
in the great labyrinth
           of corners that is
this life that deals
           daily with chance

In a story by Borges
           the man on the corner
with a raised hand.
           So many daggers in so many
contrived forms
           They await us
in the lethal labyrinth
           in which aimlessly
we wander
           with frayed threads

John Lyons

Reading Borges

Reading Borges

How many spheres contained
           within a marble sphere 
the gift of sculpture
           that sees forms within forms
the blind poet from the Argentine
           so aware of the infinity of infinities
in time and space and how every
           human gesture is necessarily
humbled by the algebras of history
           how the rose rises
above the archetype
           and how heroism is an act
not of the sword
           but of the imagination
the poet who conjures
           with words to create
a parallel universe
           in which Odysseus
is forever at sea and Penelope
           an unattainable promise

John Lyons