Jorge Luis Borges: “Nightmare”


There are dreams at the bottom of other dreams.
Every night I try to lose myself in the dark
waters that wash away the day, but in stark
rivers that grant me a glimpse of the extremes

of oblivion, an obscene wonder throbs in the night.
Sometimes it’s a mirror in which my own face shows.
Sometimes it’s the prison of a labyrinth that grows.
Sometimes it’s a garden. But it is always full of fright.

Its horror is not from here. Something without a name
comes to me from yesterdays made of myth and mist;
the foul image in my retina continues to persist

and sap my wakefulness, and bring darkness shame.
Why, when my body finally finds repose,
and my soul is alone, must I sprout this senseless rose?

Jorge Luis Borges

Translated from Spanish by Paul Weinfield, © 2015

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