Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Jorge Luis Borges - 17 Haiku

Borges in the Library
Borges in the Library
Jorge Luis Borges
17 Haiku

Translated by +James Honzik  *

It was something they told me,
the lateness of day, the mountain.
I've already forgotten.

The vast night
isn’t anything
other than a trace.

Is this or isn’t this
the dream that I dreamed
before dawn?

Silence the strings.
The music knows
how I feel.

Today I am not happy.
The almond trees
are your memories.

In the darkness
books, films, and keys.
follow my luck.

Since that day
I have not moved the pieces
on the chess board.

In the desert
it is dawn.
Some one knows.

The sheathed sword
dreams of battles.
I have other dreams.

This man has died.
His beard doesn’t know this.
His fingernails still grow.

This is the hand
that once
touched your hair.

Beneath the eaves
the mirror reflects
no more than the moon.

Beneath the moon
The shadow grows longer

Is that disappearing light
an empire,
or a firefly?

The new moon.
Another look into
another door.

From far away you hear her song.
The nightingale doesn’t know
that she consoles you.

The old hand
still traces out lines
for the forgotten.

Borges' Diecisiete Haiku in Spanish.

*Notes on the translation. These are flawed and imperfect imitations of ideal form.  The original poems are from 1981 in La Cifra. 

"The fate of a writer is very strange. At the beginning he is Baroque: insolently Baroque; after long years he may attain, if the stars are auspicious, not simplicity, which is meaningless, but a shy and secret complexity.”

Jorge Luis Borges. 

I found the preceding quotation in the following interesting essay, written by Maria Kodama, Borges' widow.

 Oriental Influences on Borges' Poetry: The Nature of the Haiku and Western Literature.

I have also translated Borges' poem The Golem.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Wisconsin Polar Vortex

Polar Vortex in Wisconsin

 Brutal cold, -20 °C,  clear skies, lake effect mist. A glorious outpouring of light as the sun topped the wall of clouds at the horizon. Too bright to even see my camera. All I could do was press the shutter and hope the settings were all dialed in correctly.


 Brutal. The weather was brutal. -20 °C. If you have never been in the cold like this, it might be hard to understand. My fingers and toes hurt. I've been in colder weather, but it was still not fun. What looks like small rocks in the water is ice, surging in the waves.

But it is earthly beautiful.  The light and color and pattern and tone keep changing. At the horizon a wall of clouds seems like a range of mountains.The mist coming off of the lake, caused by the lake effect, rises and dissipates continually.
Then the sun became strong,  its radiance too strong to photograph.


Wisconsin Winter Sunrise 4: The temperature dropped again, to -22 °C  , a bit colder than last time, but I went back to watch another sunrise. on the Lake Michigan shore. Every day the light is different. But still,  again the freezing fog, the blare of sun, the rolling waves of shattered ice.  And new, mist in brown grass, skeleton trees, suspended splash. (although shit, my tripod broke. The plastic shattered in the cold)

Beautiful strange clouds.