Thursday, 26 August 2010
The Threatened One
It is love. I will have to hide or flee.
Its prison walls grow larger, as in a fearful dream.
The alluring mask has changed,
but as usual it is the only one.
What use now are my talismans, my touchstones:
the practice of literature,
an apprenticeship to the language used by the flinty Northland
to to sing of its seas and its swords,
the serenity of friendship,
the galleries of the library,
the young love of my mother,
the soldierly shadow cast by my dead ancestors,
the timeless night,
the flavor of sleep and dream?
Being with you or without you
is how I measure my time.
Now the water jug shatters above the spring,
now the man rises to the sound of birds,
now those who look through the windows are indistinguishable,
but the darkness has not brought peace.
It is love, I know it;
the anxiety and relief at hearing your voice,
the hope and the memory,
the horror at living in succession.
It is love with its own mythology,
its minor and pointless magic.
There is a street corner I do not dare to pass.
Now the armies surround me, the rabble.
(This room is unreal. She has not seen it)
A woman's name has me in thrall.
A woman's being afflicts my whole body.
Jorge Luis Borges