Beyond my anxiety and beyond this writing the universe waits, inexhaustible

From Borge’s El Otro, El Mismo (which my Collected Poems takes as The Self and The Other). Borges famously took up Anglo-Saxon in his seventies (eighties?). I hope to do the same with Persian.

Poem Written in a Copy of Beowulf

At various times I have asked myself what reasons
moved me to study while my night came down,
without particular hope of satisfaction,
the language of the blunt-tongued Anglo-Saxons.
Used up by the years my memory
loses its grip on words that I have vainly
repeated and repeated. My life in the same way
weaves and unweaves its weary history.
Then I tell myself: it must be that the soul
has some secret sufficient way of knowing
that it is immortal, that its vast encompassing
circle can take in all, accomplish all.
Beyond my anxiety and beyond this writing
the universe waits, inexhaustible, inviting.

Composición escrita en un ejemplar de la gesta de Beowulf

A veces me pregunto qué razones
me mueven a estudiar sin esperanza
de precisión, mientras mi noche avanza
la lengua de los ásperos sajones.
Gastada por los años la memoria
deja caer la en vano repetida
palabra y es así como mi vida
teje y desteje su cansada historia.
Será (me digo entonces) que de un modo
secreto y suficiente el alma sabe
que es inmortal y que su vasto y grave
círculo abarca todo y puede todo.
Más allá de este afán y de este verso
me aguarda inagotable el universo.

Spanish is far the weakest of my languages but I find aspects of this translation baffling. A couple of examples:

lines 2-3 – sin esperanza de precisión (‘without particular hope of satisfaction’). Precisión is exactness. The sense here is not lacking satisfaction (which suggests an emotional element) but lacking mastery at the technical level. I don’t know where the qualifying ‘particular’ crept in from.

final line – ‘me aguarda inagotable el universo’ (‘the universe waits, inexhaustible, inviting’). I have a minor quibble with removing the direct object (me) and a more major one with including ‘inviting’ when it doesn’t appear in the original unless you want to give aguarda a double translation ‘waits and invites.’

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