05 February 2008

Borges The Just

The Just
Jorge Luis Borges

A man who cultivates his garden, as Voltaire wished.
He who is grateful for the existence of music.
He who takes pleasure in tracing an etymology.
Two workmen playing, in a cafe in the South, a silent game of chess.
The potter, contemplating a color and a form.
The typographer who sets this page well, though it may not please him.
A woman and a man, who read the last tercets of a certain canto.
He who strokes a sleeping animal.
He who justifies, or wishes to, a wrong done him.
He who is grateful for the existence of Stevenson.
He who prefers others to be right.
These people, unaware, are saving the world.

Translation: Alastair Reid.
Lifted from the nice folks at 3 Quarks Daily.



Anonymous jakobtrane said...

Jim: I frequently read the poems you post. This is one of the very good ones, thank you. But you forgot a line:

"He who posts other people's poetry for no reason in particular"

05 February, 2008 10:30  
Blogger Dan said...

I have long loved Borges' short fiction (in particular "The Garden of the Forking Paths", as well as some of his incredibly short stories, like "On Exactitude in Science"), but rarely do I find a poem of his I like. Thanks for this one.

05 February, 2008 11:00  
Blogger AMEN said...

great piece and also great timing! in an interview i did last week with howard zinn, he so brilliantly reminded all of us too take time to do pleasurable things, small things, like a light dance in a diner, to a jukebox song you didn't choose. (my words, not zinn's)

i think this poem is saying the same. take pleasure in your life and you will save the world, one life at a time.

here is a translationof borges' the Golem, translated wonderfully by my great friend, james honzik.


06 February, 2008 05:15  

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