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Borges, "Poema de los dones"

A work ("Poem of the gifts") by this Argentine writer.  You can read the original here.

May none in tears or with reproach then slight         
God's statement of His mastery, 
Who, with majestic irony,                    
Gave me at once both these books and the night.      

Of these books, now a city, lightless eyes         
He made the owners; eyes, it seems,      
Which in the libraries of dreams                     
Could only read some foolish tracts that tie         

The sun-ups to their zeal.  In vain the day        
Upon them foists its endless tomes;          
As toilsome as those ancient rolls        
That once in Alexandria decayed.                      

From hunger and from thirst (says a Greek tale) 
Near fonts and gardens dies a king; 
Such confines I roam, tiring          
Of this blind library, deep, blind, and pale.              

Encyclopedias, atlases, the East,             
The West, centuries, dynasties,            
Cosmos, symbols, cosmogonies             
Are fêted by these walls, if uselessly.              

Slow in my shade, this hollow darkness free 
With doubting cane I will entice;          
I, who imagined Paradise                     
As being but a kind of library.                 

Some thing that certainly does not entail 
That broad word "chance" – it rules these things;      
Once, many blurry evenings        
Another lost to books and to our shade. 

As through slow galleries I go astray,         
One sacred horror likes this plan:   
That I'm this other, the dead man,      
Perhaps with the same steps on those same days. 

What matters then that word which forms my name,              
(Which of us two has this verse spun,
Of plural I and shadow one?)    
When our anathema is but the same?          

Groussac or Borges, I thus gaze upon   
Our world, unforming, fading fast    
To palest and uncertain ash,                            
Akin to sleep or mere oblivion.                 

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