main | Vacant room | Dawning | Butcher shop | Simplicity | Farewell | Dulcia Linquimus Arva | Last sun in Villa Ortúzar | Mythical founding of Buenos Aires | Deathwatch on the Southside | Buenos Aires Deaths | Chess | Quatrain | Cyclical Night | A thirteenth-century poet | Susana Soca | Camden, 1892 | A Northside knife | Milonga of Albornoz | New England, 1967 | The labyrinth | Invocation to Joyce | Tankas | Susana Bombal | Things | Menaced | You | Poem of quantity | The sentinel | To the German language | 1891 | Hengist asks for men, A.D. 449 | Browning poet resolves to be | Suicide | I am | Fifteen coins | Blind man | 1972 | Elegy | The exile (1977) | In memory of Angelica | My books | Talismans | The white deer | The profound rose | Mexico | Herman Melville | To Johannes Brahms | Baruch Spinoza | Alhambra | Music box | Adam is your ashes | On acquiring an encyclopedia | Nostalgia for the present | The accomplice | Shinto | The cipher | My last tiger | The cypress leaves | The weft
Invocation to Joyce
Dispersed in dispersed
solitary and many,
we played at being the first Adam
who gave a name to things.
By the vast declines of night
that abut the dawn,
we sought (I still remember) the words
of the moon, death, morning
and other habits of men.
We were Imagism, Cubism,
conventicules and sects
that credulous universities venerate.
We invented want of punctuation,
lower case only,
from the Alexandrian library.
Ashes, our hands' labor
and ardent flame our faith.
You, meantime, forged
in cities of exile,
that exile which was
your abhorred and chosen instrument,
your art's weapon,
you raised your arduous labyrinths,
infinitesimal and infinite,
more populous than history.
We shall have died without having glimpsed
the biform beast or rose
at the center of your daedal,
but the mind keeps its talismans,
its Virgilian echoes,
and so perdure in the streets of night
your splendid infernos,
so many cadences and metaphors yours,
your golden shadow.
What matters our cowardice if there be on earth
one only valiant man,
what matters tristesse if in time there were
somebody happy who knew it,
what matters my lost generation,
that vague glass,
if your books justify it.
I am the other ones. All those
rescued by your obstinate rigor.
Whom you do not know and whom you save.