Borges: There is a mirror that has seen me the last time

LibertinusBuenosA
Limits

There is a line of Verlaine that I will not be able to remember.
There is a street nearby that is widowed of my footsteps,
there is a mirror that has seen me for the last time,
there is a door that I have closed until the end of the world.
Among the books of my library (I am looking at them)
there is one that I will never open now.
This summer I will be fifty years old;
Death is wearing me away, relentless.

  --Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986) wrote another version of this poem, but I prefer this one.

Límites
Hay una línea de Verlaine que no volveré a recordar.
Hay una calle próxima que está vedada a mis pasos,
hay un espejo que me ha visto por última vez,
hay una puerta que he cerrado hasta el fin del mundo.
Entre los libros de mi biblioteca (estoy viéndolos)
hay alguno que ya nunca abriré.
Este verano cumpliré cincuenta años;
La muerte me desgasta, incesante.


Helen Fisher: The love of King Hasaw Chan K'awil of the Maya

Temples_moussetitiktikal

Perhaps the most poignant example of eternal love is a temple that still stands among the breadnut, palm, acacia, mahogany, and chicle trees in today's lowland Guatemala.

Here, on what was once a gracious boulevard now swallowed by grass and vines, King Hasaw Chan K'awil of the Maya was buried sometime between 688 and 720. He had stood more than six feet tall, is believed to have lived into his 80s, and was the grandest king of the grandest civilization of the Americas-- Tikal. He had loved his wife, who died young. So he built a temple for her. It stands in the jungle, facing his. And twice annually-- precisely on the spring and autumn equinox-- the sun rises behind his temple to cast its shadow directly across hers. Then as the sun sets on these special days, it casts the shadow of her temple across his tomb. These lovers still kiss with their shadows some 1,300 years later, from the grave.

       --Helen Fisher (1945- ) in the Chronicle Review of the Chronicle of Higher Education, 6 June 2008.


Pablo Neruda: When I die I want your hands on my eyes

When I die I want your hands on my eyes:
I want the light and the wheat of your beloved hands
to pass their freshness over me one more timeAlone_on_beach_by_snaphappy_at_flickr
to feel the smoothness that changed my destiny.

I want you to live while I wait for you, asleep,
I want for your ears to go on hearing the wind,
for you to smell the sea that we loved together
and for you to go on walking the sand where we walked.

I want for what I love to go on living
and as for you I loved you and sang you above everything,
for that, go on flowering, flowery one,

so that you reach all that my love orders for you,
so that my shadow passes through your hair,
so that they know by this the reason for my song.

        --Pablo Neruda, Veinte poemas de amor y una canción desesperada. Cien Sonetos de Amor. Plaza y Janés. Ave Fénix 205-2. Sexta edición, junio 1998.

        LXXXIX

Cuando yo muera quiero tus manos en mis ojos:
quiero la luz y el trigo de tus manos amadas
pasar una vez más sobre mí su frescura:
sentir la suavidad que cambió mi destino.

Quiero que vivas mientras yo, dormido, te espero,
quiero que tus oídos sigan oyendo el viento,
que huelas el aroma del mar que amamos juntos
y que sigas pisando la arena que pisamos.

Quiero que lo que amo siga vivo
y a ti te amé y canté sobre todas las cosas,
por eso sigue tú floreciendo, florida,

para que alcances todo lo que mi amor te ordena,
para que se pasee mi sombra por tu pelo,
para que así conozcan la razón de mi canto.


Amable O'Connor D'Arlach: the alabaster lamp: your memory

Ps_alabaster_by_anataman_at_flick_2

When the sun sets, when the moaning
breeze talks to me of dying without glory,
in the twilight of my pain I light
my inseparable lamp,
alabaster lamp: your memory.

When I follow my tragic and defeated
caravan of wandering griefs
in my crystal soul I take up
my inseparable lamp,
alabaster lamp: your memory.

When the singing leaves breathe out
their song, fleeting as was your story,
drops of mourning well up and embed themselves
in my beloved lamp,
lamp of alabaster: your memory.

Only my withered betrothed,
death the redeemer,
will one day extinguish
the light of that lamp,
alabaster lamp: your memory.

           --Amable O'Connor D'Arlach (1888-1973), Bolivia

Funeraria

Cuando se pone el sol, cuando gimiendo
me habla la brisa de morir sin gloria,
en la penumbra de mi pena enciendo
mi inseparable lámpara,
lámpara de alabastro: tu memoria.

Cuando sigo mi trágica y rendida
Caravana de duelos migratoria,
en mi alma de cristal llevo prendida
mi inseparable lámpara,
lámpara de alabastro: tu memoria

Cuando cantan las hojas que se arrastran
su aria fugaz, como lo fue tu historia,
brotan gotas de llanto que se engastan
en mi querida lámpara,
lámpara de alabastro: tu memoria

Solo la mustia prometida mía,
la muerte redentora,
ha de apagar un dia
la luz de aquella lámpara,
lámpara de alabastro: tu memoria


La Llorona, the weeping woman

I don't know what's wrong with the flowers, llorona, Ps_weeping_woman
the flowers in the graveyard.
because when the wind moves them, llorona,
it looks as if they are crying.

Alas for me, llorona, llorona,
llorona, take me to the river.
And cover me with your shawl, llorona,
for I am dying of cold.

Two kisses I bear in my soul, llorona,
that never leave me….
the last one from my mother, llorona,
and the first one I gave you….

    --Mexican folk song. "Llorona" means a weeping woman. There are many legends of La Llorona, but the one I prefer is that she is Malinche, the clever young Indian woman who helped Cortez conquer Mexico. Malinche was a real person, enslaved by the Aztecs.  Cortez called her Doña Marina. She later had a son with Cortez and he provided for her, but she died young. Because she helped the Spaniards conquer Mexico, she is said to wander through the land weeping. These are just some of the many verses of the song.

No sé que tienen las flores, llorona,
las flores del camposanto
que cuando las mueve el viento, llorona,
parece que están llorando.

Ay de mí, llorona, llorona,
llorona, llévame al rió....
y tápame con tu rebozo, llorona,
porque me muero de frió.

Dos besos llevo en el alma, llorona,
que no se apartan de mí….
el último de mi madre, llorona,
y el primero que te dí….


Nezahualcoyotl: The fleeting pomp of this world is like a green willow

Weeping_willow_by_trabita_flickr_4

“The goods of this life, its glories and riches, are but lent to us, its substance is an illusory shadow, and the things of today shall change on the coming of the morrow. Then gather the fairest flowers from thy gardens to bind round thy brow, and seize the joys of the present ere they perish.” In another song handed down by memory through the generations, Nezahualcoyotl said of the present, “The fleeting pomp of the world is like a green willow,….but at the end a sharp axe destroys it, a north wind fells it.”

  --Flute of the Smoking Mirror, a Portrait of Nezahualcoyotl, by Frances Gillmor (1903-1993) Albuquerque, UNM Press 1949)

[Nezahualcoyotl , "Hungry Coyote," (1402-1472) was king of Texcoco, in what is now Mexico, and a famous poet]