“To a Cat” — Jorge Luis Borges

“To a Cat,” a poem by Jorge Luis Borges—

Mirrors are not more silent
nor the creeping dawn more secretive;
in the moonlight, you are that panther
we catch sight of from afar.
By the inexplicable workings of a divine law,
we look for you in vain;
More remote, even, than the Ganges or the setting sun,
yours is the solitude, yours the secret.
Your haunch allows the lingering
caress of my hand. You have accepted,
since that long forgotten past,
the love of the distrustful hand.
You belong to another time. You are lord
of a place bounded like a dream.

4 thoughts on ““To a Cat” — Jorge Luis Borges”

  1. Here’s my translation:

    As silent as mirrors at midnight,
    more furtive than slinking grey dawn;
    a downscaled black panther in moon light;
    glimpsed, baring teeth in a yawn.

    The occulted working of some divine law
    ensures that in vain do we seek tail or claw,
    as far as the Ganges or some dying sun:
    yours is a sleek secret army of one.

    Your stilled graceful haunch permits my rough hand
    to model your powerful form as you stand;
    my breed’s ugly past you forgive, for you can:
    you’ve never expected a great deal of man.

    Lean, dark and elegant, the shadow lord reigns,
    his treacherous dream zones, ancestral domains.

    Like

  2. I love this poem of Borges and am delighted by the alternative translation by Mishari which somewhat deepens the intensity and unease of the first one. If only I could read and understand the original.

    Like

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