Jorge Luis Borges

The Compass

All things are really only words in a tongue of endless gobbledegook that someone or something is writing in a book that is the history of the world. In herds, you, I, everyone, Carthage, Rome travel, and my unfathomable life too, and this stigma of having been an accident, a cipher, an enigma, of being all the unmelodious dialects of Babel. But behind every name is what has no name. Today, I felt its shadow flicker and take aim in the blue compass needle, lucid and light, that points far away across seas that gleam, something like a timepiece glimpsed in a dream, or the stirring of a bird in the middle of the night.

Translated from Spanish by Paul Weinfield