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Limits Analysis



Author: poem of Jorge Luis Borges Type: poem Views: 14

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Of all the streets that blur in to the sunset,

There must be one (which, I am not sure)

That I by now have walked for the last time

Without guessing it, the pawn of that Someone



Who fixes in advance omnipotent laws,

Sets up a secret and unwavering scale

for all the shadows, dreams, and forms

Woven into the texture of this life.



If there is a limit to all things and a measure

And a last time and nothing more and forgetfulness,

Who will tell us to whom in this house

We without knowing it have said farewell?



Through the dawning window night withdraws

And among the stacked books which throw

Irregular shadows on the dim table,

There must be one which I will never read.



There is in the South more than one worn gate,

With its cement urns and planted cactus,

Which is already forbidden to my entry,

Inaccessible, as in a lithograph.



There is a door you have closed forever

And some mirror is expecting you in vain;

To you the crossroads seem wide open,

Yet watching you, four-faced, is a Janus.



There is among all your memories one

Which has now been lost beyond recall.

You will not be seen going down to that fountain

Neither by white sun nor by yellow moon.



You will never recapture what the Persian

Said in his language woven with birds and roses,

When, in the sunset, before the light disperses,

You wish to give words to unforgettable things.



And the steadily flowing Rhone and the lake,

All that vast yesterday over which today I bend?

They will be as lost as Carthage,

Scourged by the Romans with fire and salt.



At dawn I seem to hear the turbulent

Murmur of crowds milling and fading away;

They are all I have been loved by, forgotten by;

Space, time, and Borges now are leaving me.





Translation by Alastair Reid






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