In the two poetry collections that I read for today's post, El Oro de los Tigres and La Rosa Profunda, Borges continues some of the explorations that he had begun in Elogio de la sombra (In Praise of Darkness). There are poems of famous historical figures, such as Hengist, sometimes at their gravesites or in reference to a deed that barely managed to live on after the person had died. There is more of the wistfulness that I had noted in earlier collections, and even a bit of sadness and regret. One of my favorite Borges poems is found in La Rosa Profunda, called "El Suicida." It is an interesting look at the thoughts of an imagined suicide:
No quedará en la noche una estrella.
No quedará la noche.
Moriré y conmigo la suma
del intolerable universo.
Borraré las pirámides, las medallas,
los continentes y las caras.
Borraré la acumulación del pasado.
Haré polvo la historia, polvo el polvo.
Estoy mirando el último poniente.
Oigo el último pájaro.
Lego la nada a nadie.
No star will remain in the night
Night will not remain
I will die and with me the sum
of the intolerable universe.
I will erase the pyramids, medals,
continents, and faces.
I will erase the past's accumulation.
History I will make dust, dust to dust.
I am looking at the last west wind.
I hear the last bird.
I leave nothing for anyone.
Ever since I first read this poem back in 2007, it has haunted me. It is perhaps the most downbeat and maybe even nihilistic of Borges' writings. There are no clever references to philosophies of the end or allusions to the entanglements of time, place, and soul. No, this reads as a poem of anger, of frustration, of a desire to say "Fuck this shit" and then going on to do just that. And yet there seems to be a bit more about it as well, something that speaks to my own occasional doubts, angers, and frustrations, to that periodic desire to just destroy all and to wander off, angry and frustrated at the totality of life and wishing for it to cease, at least for a moment, until things change. This is perhaps the poem that reveals just how vulnerable Borges was on occasion and for that reason, poems such as "El Suicidio" have made his early-to-mid 1970s poetry collections cherished reads for me over the past three years.