To the One Who is Reading Me

By Jorge Luis Borges 1899–1986

Translated from the Spanish by Tony Barnstone Read the translator's notes

You are invulnerable. Didn’t they deliver
(those forces that control your destiny)
the certainty of dust? Couldn’t it be
your irreversible time is that river
in whose bright mirror Heraclitus read
his brevity? A marble slab is saved
for you, one you won’t read, already graved
with city, epitaph, dates of the dead.
And other men are also dreams of time,
not hardened bronze, purified gold. They’re dust
like you; the universe is Proteus.
Shadow, you’ll travel to what waits ahead,
the fatal shadow waiting at the rim.
Know this: in some way you’re already dead.

Source: Poetry (March 2012).

Biography

Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges exerted a strong influence on the direction of literary fiction through his genre-bending metafictions, essays, and poetry. Borges was a founder, and principal practitioner, of postmodernist literature, a movement in which literature distances itself from life situations in favor of reflection on the creative process and critical self-examination. Widely read and profoundly erudite, Borges was . . .

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Poems by Jorge Luis Borges

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Death, Time & Brevity, Mythology & Folklore, Greek & Roman Mythology

POET’S REGION Latin America

Poetic Terms Sonnet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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