Jorge Luis Borges, “Alguien” from El Otro, el Mismo (“Someone” from The Other, the Self)
A man worn down by time;
a man who doesn’t even expect death
(the proofs of death are statistics
and there is no one who doesn’t run the risk
of being the first immortal);
a man who has learned to appreciate
the day’s meagre munificence:
sleep, routine, the taste of water,
an unsuspected etymology,
a Latin or Saxon verse,
the memory of a woman who left him
so many years ago
that today he can recall her without bitterness;
a man who doesn’t ignore that the present
is already the future and oblivion;
a man who has been disloyal
and to whom others have been disloyal;
he might feel suddenly, while crossing the street,
a mysterious happiness
born not of hope
but of an ancient innocence,
of his own root or of some diffused deity.
He knows that he shouldn’t look at it closely,
for there are reasons more terrible than tigers
which will prove to him his obligation
to be miserable,
but he humbly experiences
that happiness, that impulse.
Perhaps we’ll be forever in death,
when the dust is dust,
that indecipherable root,
from which will eternally blossom,
happy or horrible,
our solitary heaven or hell.
Insomniac passing anhypnic nights in writing, translation, music, mathematics, programming and whatever else captures my attention or alleviates agrypnia.
This consists mostly of quotations of things that stand out to me or reflect what's on my mind; occasionally I also post original, often more personal, content as well, which may be found under the "personal" tag. Anything posted under "translations" is also original work and may broadly be taken as personal as well as I seldom tackle a work that does not speak to or for me in some way.
Arthur SchopenhauerIf we were to conduct the most hardened and callous optimist through hospitals, infirmaries, operating theatres, through prisons, torture-chambers, and slave-hovels, over battlefields and to places of execution; if we were to open to him all the dark abodes of misery, where it shuns the gaze of cold curiosity, and finally were to allow him to glance into the dungeon of Ugolino where prisoners starved to death, he too would certainly see in the end what kind of a world is this ‘meilleur des mondes possibles’. For whence did Dante get the material for his hell, if not from this actual world of ours?
Gene Wolfe, The Claw of the Conciliator (via itseasyjusttolookaway)‘These times are the ancient times, when the world is ancient.’ And: ‘Hell has no limits, nor is circumscribed; for where we are is Hell, and where Hell is, there we must be.
Jorge Luis Borges, “La biblioteca de Babel”, Ficciones (1944) / “The Library of Babel” from Fictions.
Si el honor y la sabiduría y la felicidad no son para mí, que sean para otros. Que el cielo exista, aunque mi lugar sea el infierno.
If honor, wisdom and happiness are not for me, let them be for others. Let heaven exist, though my place be in hell.