Jorge Luis Borges: “Of Which Nothing Is Known”

Of Which Nothing Is Known

The moon doesn’t know how softly it shines.
It doesn’t even know that it’s the moon;
the sand, that it is sand.  We must assume
that nothing understands its unique design.

Ivory chess pieces are unaware
of the game they’re in, like the human hand
that moves them.  Could the fate of man
to suffer brief pleasures and long despair

be someone else’s tool?  We can’t comprehend.
To call it “God” is no use to us.
Our fears are futile, as is our mistrust,

as are the prayers we start but never end.
Then what arc contains the arrow of our souls?
What peak sets a limit to our limitless goals?

Jorge Luis Borges

Translated from Spanish by Paul Weinfield, © 2015

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