The Sarabite: Towards an Aesthetic Christianity

There is a continuous attraction, beginning with God, going to the world, and ending at last with God, an attraction which returns to the same place where it began as though in a kind of circle. -Marsilio Ficino

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Esta mañana
Hay en le aire la increíble fragancia de las rosas del paraíso.
En la margen del Éufrates
Adán descubre la frescura del agua.
Una lluvia de oro cae del cielo;
Es el amor de Zeus.
Salta del mar un pez
Y un hombre de Agrigento recordará
Haber sido ese paz.
En la caverna cuyo nombre será Altamira
Una mano sin cara traza la curva
De un lomo de bisonte.
La lenta mano de Virgilio acaricia
la seda que trajeron
del reino del Emperador Amarillo
las caravanas y las naves.
El primer ruiseñor canta en Hungría.
Jesús ve en la moneda el perfil de Cesar.
Pitágoras revela a sus griegos
Que la forma del tiempo es la del círculo.
En una isla del Océano
Los lebreles de plata persiguen a los ciervos de oro.
En un yunque forjan la espada
Que será fiel a Sigurd.
Whitman canta en Manhattan.
Homero nace en siete ciudades.
Una doncella acaba de apresar
Al unicornio blanco
Todo el pasado vuelve como una ola
Y esas antiguas cosas recurren
Porque una mujer te ha besado.

-Jorge Luis Borges, del libro La Cifra

This morning
The incredible fragrance is in the air
Of the roses of Paradise.
On the banks of the Euphrates
Adam discovers the freshness of water.
A golden rain falls from the sky;
It is the love of Zeus.
Up from the sea jumps a fish
And an Agrigentian man will remember
That he was once that fish.
In the cave whose name will be Altamira,
A faceless hand traces the curve
Of a buffalo's loin.
The hand of Virgil slowly caresses
The silk that caravans and ships brought
From the kingdom of the Yellow Emperor.
The first nightingale sings in Hungary.
Jesus sees the profile of Ceasar on a coin.
Pithagoras reveals to the Greeks
That time is in the form of a circle.
On an island in the Ocean,
Silver harriers pursue hinds of gold.
On an anvil they forge a sword
That will be faithful to Sigurd.
Whitman sings in Manhattan.
Homer is born in seven cities.
A maiden has just caught
A white unicorn.
Like a wave the entire past returns
And those ancient things occur again
Because a woman has just kissed you.


At 9:23 PM, Blogger Arturo Vasquez said...

My translation.

Picture credit:

The Kiss by Gustav Klimt found on this site:

At 2:33 AM, Blogger Mack Ramer said...

I wish I could read Spanish -- I love Borges! Thanks for sharing this.

At 2:16 PM, Blogger Arturo Vasquez said...

Borges, out of all the other Spanish writers I know, is the most accesible in translation. I suppose it has a lot to do with the fact that he writes about such weird stuff that his language almost transcends language. How are you supposed to translate a work from Spanish about a Nordic saga? Not much, I think, is lost in the translation, and the one I did of this poem was child's play compared to translating Guillen, Mistral, etc., without mentioning Lope de Vega or Gongorra. Now that's a real challenge. Nevertheless, Borges did write sonnets and a series of "milongas" which do have a powerful craftsmanship in their poetic form. Other than that, I don't think you're missing much.


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