Music Box

By Jorge Luis Borges 1899–1986

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

Music of Japan. Parsimoniously
from the water clock the drops unfold
in lazy honey or ethereal gold
that over time reiterates a weave
eternal, fragile, enigmatic, bright.
I fear that every one will be the last.
They are a yesterday come from the past.
But from what shrine, from what mountain’s slight
garden, what vigils by an unknown sea,
and from what modest melancholy, from
what lost and rediscovered afternoon
do they arrive at their far future: me?
Who knows? No matter. When I hear it play
I am. I want to be. I bleed away.


Source: Poetry (March 2012).

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This poem originally appeared in the March 2012 issue of Poetry magazine

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 Arts & Sciences, Music

POET’S REGION Latin America

Poetic Terms Sonnet

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