“Las Cosas que Pudieron Ser” by Jorge Luis Borges

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Las Cosas que Pudieron Ser

Pienso en las cosas que pudieron ser y no fueron.
El tratado de mitología sajona que Beda no escribió.
La obra inconcebible que a Dante le fue dada acaso entrever,
Ya corregido el último verso de la Comedia.
La historia sin la tarde de la Cruz y la tarde de la cicuta.
La historia sin el rostro de Helena.
El hombre sin los ojos, que nos han deparado la luna.
En las tres jornadas de Gettysburg la victoria del Sur.
El amor que no compartimos.
El dilatado imperio que los Vikings no quisieron fundar.
El orbe sin la rueda o sin la rosa.
El juicio de John Donne sobre Shakespeare.
El otro cuerno del Unicornio.
El ave fabulosa de Irlanda, que está en dos lugares a un tiempo.
El hijo que no tuve.

xxxx

Things that might have been

I think of the things that might have been, and weren’t.
The treatise on Saxon mythology that Bede never wrote.
The inconceivable work that Dante may have glimpsed,
As soon as he corrected the last verse of the Comedy.
History without the afternoon of the Cross and the afternoon of hemlock.
History without Helen’s face.
Man without the eyes that have granted us the moon.
In the three days of Gettysburg, the victory of the South.
The love we never shared.
The far-flung empire the Vikings declined to found.
The globe without the wheel or the rose.
John Donne’s judgment of Shakespeare.
The Unicorn’s other horn.
The fabulous Irish bird which exists in two places at once.
The child I never had.

trans. Hoyt Rogers

 

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