Inventory by Jorge Luis Borges

To reach it, a ladder has to be set up. There is no stair.
What can we be looking for in the attic
but the accumulation of disorder?
There is a smell of damp.
The late afternoon enters by way of the laundry.
The ceiling beams loom close, and the floor has rotted.
Nobody dares put a foot on it.
A folding cot, broken.
A few useless tools,
the dead one’s wheelchair.
The base for a lamp.
A Paraguyan hammock with tassels, all frayed away.
Equipment and papers.
An engraving of Aparicio Saravia’s general staff.
An old charcoal iron.
A clock stopped in time, with a broken pendulum.
A peeling gilt frame, with no canvas.
A cardboard chessboard, and some broken chessmen.
A stove with only two legs.
A chest made of leather.
A mildewed copy of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, in intricate Gothic lettering.
A photograph which might be of anybody.
A worn skin, once a tiger’s.
A key which has lost its lock.
What can we be looking for in the attic
except the flotsam of disorder?
To forgetting, to all forgotten objects I have just erected this monument
(Unquestionably less durable than bronze) which will be lost among them.

(to Contents)



Anonymous said...

please include name of translator

deemikay said...

Many apologies. I really should have.... it was, perhaps inevitably, Alistair Reid.