A Compass


All things are words belonging to that language
In which Someone or Something, night and day,
Writes down the infinite babble that is, per se,
The history of the world. And in that hodgepodge

Both Rome and Carthage, he and you and I,
My life that I don’t grasp, this painful load
Of being riddle, randomness, or code,
And all of Babel’s gibberish stream by.

Behind the name is that which has no name;
Today I have felt its shadow gravitate
In this blue needle, in its trembling sweep

Casting its influence toward the farthest strait,
With something of a clock glimpsed in a dream
And something of a bird that stirs in its sleep.

Translated from the Spanish by Robert Mezey.

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