July 17th, 2008

Borges' Sonnet, "Spinoza"

I was looking at this lovely sonnet by Jorge Luis Borges today, and I felt like trying a translation, even though I will fail to completely capture it. What is really hard to do, of course, is convey the simplicity and straightforward nature while trying to do something along the lines of his sound. And yes, here and there I have added some things and deleted some things. Also, I suppose I should mention that Spinoza, while now famous as a philosopher, made his living as a maker of lenses. Finally, I apologize to the ghost of Borges!

The Jew's translucent hands take hold,
scrubbing the crystal in the gathering gloom.
The dying evening fades to fear and cold.
(Evenings after equal evenings loom.)

His hands and this space of hyacinth,
grow pallid behind the Ghetto walls.
For this quiet man they barely exist at all.
He dreams his way through a clear labyrinth.

He isn't disturbed by fame, that collection
of dreams in the dream of another reflection,
nor by young ladies' timorous love.

Free from metaphor and myth,
he scrubs the crystal: the infinite
map of That which is all the stars above.

UPDATE... I keep fiddling with this.

Brain Plaque

They thought it was the plaque in the brain that caused Alzheimer's. They invented a vaccine to get rid of the plaque. They used it on people who already had dementia. It got rid of the plaque. But the patients still had dementia.

But... maybe the vaccine could work preventively? So they aren't giving up on the vaccine yet.

What's clear is that they're making progress but that they don't really understand this disease very well yet.

At least they have a way to stop plaque.
Two steps forward, one step back.