[With thanks to Anna Intere and the Sea Library I ran across this sea-poem by Borges this morning, right after I took this sea-picture. John Updike’s translation, in Borges’s Selected Poems (2004), is very good. But I thought I’d do an early November translation myself too.]
Before the dream, or the terror, it interweaves
Mythologies and cosmographies.
Before the time unweaves itself into days —
The sea, always, the always-sea, it was and was.
Who is the sea? Who is the violent
Ancient creature that chews earth’s sandy pillars,
One and many sea-mouths gnawing,
And abyss and splendor and chance and wind?
Who sees it sees it for the first time
Always. With elemental wonders drawn out, sad evenings,
Bright moon, cooled embers from last night’s bonfire on the beach.
Who is the sea? Who am I? I will not know it until
After the last succeeding wave-days and pain.“El Mar” from El otro, el mismo (1964)