Following are Spanish and English versions of “The Unending Gift” by Jose Luis Borges. I find this piece particularly moving, for possibility is the highest gift.

The unending gift. Jorge Luis Borges. Photo: Sunset in Bayahibe, La Romana - Dominican Republic.

The Unending Gift – Spanish (English below)

“Un pintor nos prometió un cuadro.

Ahora, en New England, sé que ha muerto. Sentí, como otras veces, la tristeza de comprender que somos como un sueño. Pensé en el hombre y el cuadro perdidos.

(Sólo dioses pueden prometer, porque son inmortales.)

Pensé en el lugar prefijado que la tela no ocupará.

Pensé después: si estuviera ahí, sería con el tiempo una cosa más, una cosa, una de las vanidades o hábitos de la casa; ahora es ilimitada, incesante, capaz de cualquier forma y cualquier color y no atada a ninguno.

Existe de algún modo. Vivirá y crecerá como una música y estará conmigo hasta el fin. Gracias, Jorge Larco.

(También los hombres pueden prometer, porque en la promesa hay algo inmortal”.)

The Unending Gift – English version

“A painter promised us a picture.

Here, in New England, having learned of his death, I felt once again the sadness of recognizing that we are but shapes of a dream. I thought about the man and the picture, both lost.

(Only the gods can make promises, for they are deathless).

I thought about the place, chose in advance, where the canvas will not hang.

Later, I thought: if it were there, wouldn’t it in time become one thing more – an object, another of the vanities or habits of the house? Now the picture is limitless, unending, capable of taking any form or color and bound to none.

In some way, it exists. It will live and grow, like music, and will remain with me to the end. Thank you, Jorge Larco.

(Men can make promises, too, for in a promise there is something that does not die)”.

As translated by Norman Thomas di Giovanni, from the book “In Praise of Darkness” by Jorge Luis Borges.

The Unending Gift – Borges. Photo: Sunset in Bayahibe, La Romana. Dominican Republic

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