Monday, May 27, 2024

Where Did the White Doe Come From?



from Notes for a History of Dream Creation

"Where did the white doe come from?" It's the question with which Jorge Luis Borges opens his poem "La Cierva Blanca" ("The White Doe"). He explained elsewhere that the poem came to him. fully formed, in a dream. 

“I don’t feel that I wrote that poem...The poem was given to me, in a dream, some minutes before dawn. At times dreams are painful and tedious, and I object to their outrage and say, enough, this is only a dream, stop. But this time it was an oral picture that I saw and heard. I simply copied it, exactly as it was given to me.” [Willis Barnstone, With Borges on an Ordinary Evening in Buenos Aires (Champaign IL: University of Illinois Pres, 1992) 30]

from La Cierva Blanca by Jorge Luis Borges

tal vez en un recodo del porvenir profundo
te encontraré de nuevo, cierva blanca de un sueño.
Yo también soy un sueño fugitivo que dura
unos días más que el sueño del prado y la blancura.

Perhaps in a corner of the far future
I will meet you again, white doe of my dream.
I, too, am a dream that will not last much longer
than the dream of whiteness in the meadow.

(my free translation)

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