The great and still little known Argentine poet who died at age 82 in 1968. Born in Italy, he lived in Buenos Aires from 1911, writing in Spanish and working as a potter or carpenter.
Before I travelled my road I was my road.
I found the whole of my first world in my meager bread.
My poverty is not complete: it lacks me.
One lives in the hope of becoming a memory.
I have scarcely touched the clay and I am made of it.
Nothing that is complete breathes.
You will find the distance that separates you from them, by joining them.
He who tells the truth says almost nothing.
For a thousand years I have been asking myself, "what will I do now?" And still I need not answer.
My heaviest comes from the heights.
Chimeras come singly and leave accompanied.
Man, when he does not grieve, hardly exists.
We have a world for each one, but we do not have a world for all.
Would there be this eternal seeking if the found existed?
We become aware of the void as we fill it.
When everything is finished, the mornings are sad.
A child shows his toy, a man hides his.
I love you as you are, but do not tell me how that is.
If I did not believe that the sun looked at me a little bit, I would not look at it.
I know what I have given you. I do not know what you have received.
I do not want anything over again. Not even a mother.
Whatever I take, I take too much or too little; I do not take the exact amount. The exact amount is no use to me.
Yes, this is what good is: to forgive evil. There is no other good.
When one does not love the impossible, one does not love anything.
Everything is a little bit of darkness, even the light.
The fear of separation is all that unites.
If those who owe us nothing gave us nothing, how poor we would be.
When everyone grieves no one hears the crying.
Every toy has the right to break.
Even the smallest creatures carries a sun in its eyes.
The dream which is not fed with dream disappears.
Because they know the name of what I am looking for, they think they name know what I am looking for!
To the best of refuges, I prefer their doorways.
All things pronounce names.
selected from Voices
translated by W. S. Merwin
Big Table, 1969