Tuesday, 16 February 2010


In his blog a while ago, photographer Pradip Malde drew attention to this poem by Borges, which he says "has always conditioned my still-life work". I don't know why it came to mind today, but it seemed to go with these two photographs I took on the way in to work this morning; perhaps because that intense, washed light you get after heavy rain always seems to bring out the thing-ness of things.

Las Cosas, por Jorge Luis Borges

El bastón, las monedas, el llavero,
la dócil cerradura, las tardías
notas que no leerán los pocos días
que me quedan, los naipes y el tablero,

un libro y en sus páginas la ajada
violeta, monumento de una tarde
sin duda inolvidable y ya olvidada,
el rojo espejo occidental en que arde

una ilusoria aurora. ¡Cuántas cosas,
láminas, umbrales, atlas, copas, clavos,
nos sirven como tácitos esclavos,

ciegas y extrañamente sigilosas!
Durarán más allá de nuestro olvido;
no sabrán nunca que nos hemos ido.

Things, by Jorge Luis Borges

My walking-stick, small change, key-ring,
The docile lock and the belated
Notes my few days left will grant
No time to read, the cards, the table,

A book, in its pages, that pressed
Violet, the leavings of an afternoon
Doubtless unforgettable, forgotten,
The reddened mirror facing to the west

Where burns illusory dawn. Many things,
Files, sills, atlases, wine-glasses, nails,
Which serve us, like unspeaking slaves,

So blind and so mysteriously secret!
They’ll long outlast our oblivion;
And never know that we are gone.

translated by A. S. Kline © 2008

1 comment:

Mauro Thon Giudici said...

The second one strikes a chord ...

Seems we have some strange lecture connection. A couple of weeks ago I've got back to Borges after a long time.