Monday, July 18, 2011

the watcher - jorge luis borges

The Watcher
by Jorge Luis Borges (tr. Alastair Reid)

The light enters and I remember who I am; he is there.
He begins by telling me his name which (it should now be
      clear) is mine.
I revert to the servitude which has lasted more than seven
     times ten years.
He saddles me with his rememberings.
He saddles me with the miseries of every day, the human
I am his old nurse; he requires me to wash his feet.
He spies on me in mirrors, in mahogany, in shop windows.
One or another woman has rejected him, and I must share
     his anguish.
He dictates to me now this poem, which I do not like.
He insists I apprentice myself tentatively to the stubborn
He has won me over to the hero worship of dead soldiers,
     people with whom I could scarcely exchange a single
On the last flight of stairs, I feel him at my side.
He is in my footsteps, in my voice.
Down to the last detail, I abhor him.
I am gratified to remark that he can hardly see.
I am in a circular cell and the infinite wall is closing in.
Neither of the two deceives the other, but we both lie.
We know each other too well, inseparable brother.
You drink the water from my cup and you wolf down my
The door to suicide is open, but theologians assert that, in the
     subsequent shadows of the other kingdom, there will I
     be, waiting for myself.

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