the fantastic Borges
unit one
unit two
unit three


The Rain

 The afternoon grows light because at last  
 Abruptly a minutely shredded rain  
 Is falling, or it fell. For once again  
 Rain is something happening in the past.  

 Whoever hears it fall has brought to mind  
 Time when by a sudden lucky chance  
 A flower called "rose" was open to his glance  
 And the curious color of the colored kind.  

 This rain that blinds the windows with its mists  
 Will gladden in suburbs no more to be found  
 The black grapes on a vine there overhead  

 In a certain patio that no longer exists.  
 And the drenched afternoon brings back the sound  
 How longed for, of my father's voice, not dead. 

Borges and I

It's the other one, it's Borges, that things happen to. I stroll about Buenos Aires and stop, perhaps mechanically now, to look at the arch of an entrance or an iron
gate. News of Borges reaches me through the mail and I see his name on an acaaemic ballot or in a biographical dictionary. I like hourglasses, maps,
eighteenth-century typography, the taste of coffee, and Stevenson's prose. The other one shares these preferences with me, but in a vain way that converts them into
the attributes of an actor. It would be too much to say that our relations are hostile; I live, I allow myself to live, so that Borges may contrive his literature and that
literature justifies my existence. I do not mind confessing that he has managed to write some worthwhile pages, but those pages cannot save me, perhaps because the
good part no longer belongs to anyone, not even to the other one, but rather to the Spanish language or to tradition. Otherwise, I am destined to be lost, definitively,
and only a few instants of me will be able to survive in the other one. Little by little I am yielding him everything, although I am well aware of his perverse habit of
falsifying and exaggerating. Spinoza held that all things long to preserve their own nature: the rock wants to be rock forever and the tiger, a tiger. But I must live on in
Borges, not in myselfÑif indeed I am anyoneÑ though I recognize myself less in his books than in many others, or than in the laborious strumming of a guitar. Years
ago I tried to free myself from him and I passed from lower-middle-class myths to playing games with time and infinity, but those games are Borges' now. and I will
have to conceive something else. Thus my life is running away, and I lose everything and everything belongs to oblivion, or to the other one. 
I do not know which of us two is writing this page. 

Skidmore College Foreign Language Department web site design by Jennifer Conklin '98 revised July 1998