History of the Night

Throughout the course of the generations
men constructed the night.
At first she was blidness;
thorns raking bare feet,
fear of wolves.
We shall never know who forged the word
for the interval of shadow
dividing the two twilights;
we shall never know in what age it came to mean
the starry hours.
Others created the myth.
They made her the mother of the unruffled Fates
that spin our destiny,
they sacrificed black ewes to her, and the cock
who crows his own death.
The Chaldeans assigned to her twelve houses;
to Zeno, infinite words.
She took shape from Latin hexameters
and the terror of Pascal.
Luis de Leon saw in her the homeland
of his stricken soul.
Now we feel her to be inexhuastible
like an ancient wine
and no one can gaze on her without vertigo
an time has charged her with eternity.

And to think that she wouldn't exist
except for those fragile instruments, the eyes.

Jorge Luis Borges


Ni tiniebla ni caos.
La tiniebla requiere ojos que ven,
como el sonido y el silencio requieren el oído,
y el espejo, la forma que lo puebla.

Ni el espacio ni el tiempo.
ni siquiera una divinidad que premedita
el silencio anterior a la primera
noche del tiempo, que será infinita.

El gran río de Heráclito el Oscuro
su irrevocable curso no ha emprendido,
que del pasado fluye hacia el futuro,
que del olvido fluye hacia el olvido.
Algo que ya padece. Algo que implora.
Después la historia universal. Ahora.

Jorge Luís Borges