Thursday, 27 June 2013

Iceland, the Ultima Thule in Jorge Luís Borges' poetry.

From Jorge Luís Borges, An Island

To Iceland

Of all the areas of the beautiful earth
that my flesh and its shadow exhausted
you are the remotest and most intimate,
Ultima Thule, Iceland of the ships,
of the tough plow and unwavering rudder,
of the sailormen's outstretched nets,
of that curious afternoon motionless light
that the vague heaven pours out at dawn,
and of the wind seeking  for the lost
sails of the Viking. Sacred Earth,
you that fled from the memories of Germany
and rescued its mythology 
from an iron forest and from its wolf
and from the ship that the gods fear
fabricated by the fingernails of the dead,

For long I've dreamed of you Iceland,
since that morning, when my father
to the child who I am and is still alive
gave a version of the 'Völsunga Saga',

that my penumbra is now deciphering
with the help of a slow dictionary.
When the body comes tired of the man,
when the fire is declining to ashes,
welcome is the resigned learning
of an infinite enterprise; I choosed
your language, the Latin of the North
that reached the steppes and the seas
of one hemisphere and echoed in Byzantium
and on America's virgin shores.
I know that I won't know, but in wait
lie the possible gifts of the search,
not the fruit unattainable by knowledge.
Likewise feel those who quest
the stars or the series of numbers ...

Only love, love the ignorant, Iceland.

Nostalgia for the present

At that precise moment the man told himself:
- Oh what would I not give for the joy
of being at your side in Iceland
in the great unmoving daytime
and of sharing this now
the way one shares music
or the taste of fruit.

At that precise moment
the man was with her in Iceland.

(to be continued, after the '200 000' th  visitor comes to Ultima Thule)