Through the course of generations 
men brought the night into being. 
In the beginning were blindness and dream 
and thorns which gash the bare foot 
and fear of wolves. 
We shall never know who fashioned the word 
for the interval of darkness 
which divides the two half-lights. 
We shall never know in what century it stood 
for the starry spaces. 
Others began the myth. 
They made night mother of the tranquil Fates 
who weave all destiny 
and sacrificed black sheep to her 
and the rooster which announced her end. 
The Chaldeans gave her twelve houses; 
infinite worlds, the Stoic Portico. 
Latin hexameters molded her, 
and Pascal’s dread. 
Luis de León saw in her the homeland 
of his shivering soul. 
Now we feel her inexhaustible 
as an old wine 
and no one can think of her without vertigo, 
and time has charged her with eternity. 

And to think that night would not exist 
without those tenuous instruments, the eyes. 

Jorge Luis Borges

(translated by Alastair Reid)


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