To the One Who is Reading Me by Jorge Luis Borges

You are invulnerable. Didn’t they deliver
(those forces that control your destiny)
the certainty of dust? Couldn’t it be
your irreversible time is that river
in whose bright mirror Heraclitus read
his brevity? A marble slab is saved
for you, one you won’t read, already graved
with city, epitaph, dates of the dead.
And other men are also dreams of time,
not hardened bronze, purified gold. They’re dust
like you; the universe is Proteus.
Shadow, you’ll travel to what waits ahead,
the fatal shadow waiting at the rim.
Know this: in some way you’re already dead.

Jorge Luis Borges

Translated by Tony Barnstone
Further reading: the translator’s notes

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About russellboyle.com

Russell Boyle, of russellboyle.com, is a mathematics teacher, writer, and poet. Russell is the author of a number of teaching resources, including the Year 7 to 8 Mathematics Short-Answer Tasks, the Year 7 to 10 Mathematics Multiple-Choice Tasks, the Year 9 Extended-Response Tasks, the solutions to the Year 12 VCAA Mathematics Exams and the Web-Programming For Beginners series of courses. Russell's poetry anthologies are titled The Beginning, Footprints and Loneliness.
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5 Responses to To the One Who is Reading Me by Jorge Luis Borges

  1. Tom Gething says:

    Wonderful, taut translation. Kudos to the man for preserving the discipline of the rhyme.

  2. Aquileana says:

    GREAT POEM. JORGE LUIS BORGES WAS SUCH A GREAT ARGENTINE WRITER..
    HIS VERSES ARE FULL OF WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE.
    THIS POEM REALLY TOUCHED ME…

    THANKS FOR SHARING RUSSELL;

    AQUILEANA 😉

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