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by Jorge Luis Borges

translated from the Spanish by Thomas Frick

Second twilight.
Night that deepens into dream.
Purification, forgetfulness.
First twilight.
Morning that once was dawn.
Day that was morning.
Overflowing day that will be a spent evening.
Second twilight.
Night, the other costume of time.
Purification, forgetfulness.
First twilight . . .
In the dawn, the secret anguish
of the Ephesian.
What weave is this
of will be, is, and was?
What river
lies under the Ganges?
What river has no source?
What river
drags along mythologies and swords?
Sleeping is useless.
Through the dream, through the desert,
through the cellar,
the river carries me, and I am the river.
I was made of delicate substance, mysterious time.
Perhaps the source is within me.
Perhaps the days emerge,
fatal and illusory,
from my shadow.


Jorge Luis Borges was born in Buenos Aires on 24 August, 1899. He died on 14 June, 1986 in Geneva—where, he wrote, he had felt “mysteriously happy”—and is buried in the Cemetery of Kings there.

Thomas Frick lives in Los Angeles, where he has recently interviewed William Gass, Karen Finley, and Thomas Keneally. (1992)

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