Street with a Pink Corner Store

Gone into the night are all the eyes from every intersection
and it's like a drought anticipating rain.
Now all roads are near,
even the road of miracles.
The wind brings with it a slow, befuddled dawn.
Dawn is our fear of doing different things and it comes over us.
All the blessed night I have been walking
and its restlessness has left me
on this street, which could be on any street.
Here again the certainty of the plains
on the horizon
and the barren terrain that fades into weeds and wire
and the store as bright as last night's new moon.
The corner is familiar like a memory
with those spacious squares and the promise of a courtyard.
How lovely to attest to you, street of forever, since my own days have
witnesseed so few things!
Light draws streaks in the air.
My years have run down roads of earth and water
and you are all I feel, strong rosy street.
I think it is your walls that conceived sunrise,
store so bright in the depth of night.
I think, and the confession of my poverty
is given voice before these houses:
I have seen nothing of mountain ranges, rivers, or the sea,
but the light of Buenos Aires made itself my friend
and I shape the lines of my life and death with that light of the street.
Big long-suffering street,
you are the only music my life has understood.

Translated from the Spanish by Stephen Kessler
Street vendors on Jorge Luis Borges street in the district Palermo Viejo, Argentina. The Argentine writer used to live in this neighbourhood as a child. So did Che. Image courtesy www(dot)akworld(dot)net


Chris Fortney said…
I understood myself truly when I read this poem for the first time. And then I understood what Borges meant when he wrote "the confession of my poverty," i think this poem is a great achievement in written language...