The noise of the square is behind me. I enter the Library: I feel the pull of the books like a physical force, and the quiet of this orderly place where time has been magically embalmed and preserved. To either side, the sudden faces of readers lost in lucid dreams are outlined by the light of the “studious lamps” (to use Milton’s figure of speech). I recall that I have remembered this trope before, in this place, along with that other epithet that defines the atmosphere: the “dry camel” of your Lunaraio sentimental and a hexameter from the Aeneid that uses the same figure but goes so far beyond it.
Ibant obscuri sola sub nocte per umbras
These thoughts bring me to your office door. I go in; we exchange a few conventional but cordial words, and I give you a copy of this book. I think I am right, Lugones, in believing that you did not dislike me, and that you would have been amused to find some of my work to your liking. Nothing like that ever happened, but this time you turn the pages and read a line here or there approvingly, because you have recognized your own voice in them, perhaps, or because faulty execution is less important to you than sound theory.
With this my dream dissolves, like water mixing with water. The vast library that stands all around me is on México Street, not Rodríguez Peña, and you, Lugones, took your life early in 1938. Vanity and nostalgia have led me to fabricate an impossible scene. So be it, I say to myself, for I too will soon be dead, your time will be mistaken for mine, the order of events will be lost in the universe of symbols, and in some way it will be fair to say that I did take you a copy of this book, and you received it.
J. L. B.
Buenos Aires, August 9, 1960
God of lost souls, thou who art lost amongst the gods, hear me:
Gentle Destiny that watchest over us, mad, wandering spirits, hear me:
I dwell in the midst of a perfect race, I the most imperfect.
I, a human chaos, a nebula of confused elements, I move amongst finished worlds -- peoples of complete laws and pure order, whose thoughts are assorted, whose dreams are arranged, and whose visions are enrolled and registered.
Their virtues, O God, are measured, their sins are weighed, and even the countless things that pass in the dim twilight of neither sin nor virtue are recorded and catalogued.
Here days and nights are divided into seasons of conduct and governed by rules of blameless accuracy.
To eat, to drink, to sleep, to cover one's nudity, and then to be weary in due time.
To work, to play, to sing, to dance, and then to lie still when the clock strikes the hour.
To think thus, to feel thus much, and then to cease thinking and feeling when a certain star rises above yonder horizon.
To rob a neighbour with a smile, to bestow gifts with a graceful wave of the hand, to praise prudently, to blame cautiously, to destroy a soul with a word, to burn a body with a breath, and then to wash the hands when the day's work is done.
To love according to an established order, to entertain one's best self in a pre-conceived manner, to worship the gods becomingly, to intrigue the devils artfully -- and then to forget all as though memory were dead.
To fancy with a motive, to contemplate with consideration, to be happy sweetly, to suffer nobly -- and then to empty the cup so that tomorrow may fill it again.
All these things, O God, are conceived with forethought, born with determination, nursed with exactness, governed by rules, directed by reason, and then slain and buried after a prescribed method. And even their silent graves that lie within the human soul are marked and numbered.
It is a perfect world, a world of consummate excellence, a world of supreme wonders, the ripest fruit in God's garden, the master-thought of the universe.
But why should I be here, O God, I a green seed of unfulfilled passion, a mad tempest that seeketh neither east nor west, a bewildered fragment from a burnt planet?
Why am I here, O God of lost souls, thou who art lost amongst the gods?
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Between 1918 when I entered the Residencia de Estudiantes in Madrid, and 1928 when I left, having completed my study of Philosophy and Letters, I listened to around a thousand lectures, in that elegant salon where the old Spanish aristocracy went to do penance for its frivolity on French beaches.
Longing for air and sunlight, I was so bored I used to feel as though I was covered in fine ash, on the point of changing into peppery sneezes.
So, no, I don’t want that terrible blowfly of boredom to enter this room, threading all your heads together on the slender necklace of sleep, and setting a tiny cluster of sharp needles in your, my listeners’, eyes.
In a simple way, in the register that, in my poetic voice, holds neither the gleams of wood, nor the angles of hemlock, nor those sheep that suddenly become knives of irony, I want to see if I can give you a simple lesson on the buried spirit of saddened Spain.
Whoever travels the bull’s hide that stretches between the Júcar, Guadalfeo, Sil and Pisuerga rivers (not to mention the tributaries that meet those waves, the colour of a lion’s mane, that stir the Plata) frequently hears people say: ‘This has much duende’. Manuel Torre, great artist of the Andalusian people, said to someone who sang for him: ‘You have a voice, you understand style, but you’ll never ever succeed because you have no duende.’
All through Andalusia…
I cried to men, "I would be crucified!"
And they said, "Why should your blood be upon our heads?"
And I answered, "How else shall you be exalted except by crucifying madmen?"
And they heeded and I was crucified. And the crucifixion appeased me.
And when I was hanged between earth annd heaven they lifted up their heads to see me. And they were exalted, for their heads had never before been lifted.
But as they stood looking up at me one called out, "For what art thou seeking atone?"
And another cried, "In what cause dost thou sacrifice thyself?"
And a third said, "Thinkest thou with this price to buy world glory?"
Then said a fourth, "Behold, how he smiles! Can such pain be forgiven?"
And I answered them all, and said:
"Remember only that I smiled. I do not atone -- nor sacrifice -- nor wish for glory; and I have nothing to forgive. I thirsted -- and I besought you to give me my blood to drink. For what is there can quench a madman's thirst but his own blood? I was dumb -- and I asked wounds of you for mouths. I was imprisoned on your days and nights -- and I sought a door into larger days and nights. And now I go -- as others already crucified have gone. And think not we are weary of crucifixion. For we must be crucified by larger and yet larger men, between greater earths and greater heavens."
Cañada de la Virgen is a pre-Columbian archaeological site in the Mexican state of Guanajuato. The site lies about 16 km west-southwest of the city of San Miguel de Allende within a private property, already registered by INAH in 1985.
The construction of these pyramids and other architectural structures of the central basin of the Laja river is attributed to tolteca-chichimecas groups. The Cañada de la Virgen formed part of a larger social organization that was linked to a Toltec political system
It is a prehispanic site that was ruled by the Moon the Sun and Venus, as demonstrated by archaeological-astronomy studies by the National Institute of anthropology and history (INAH) has made on the site.
The ancient architects that built and configured the city - where Otomi-hñahñu settled villages- from surrounding hills and synodic cycles (length of time it takes for the planets or stars to acquire the same relative position to the Earth) of the stars for a symmetrical alignment of their temples.
Photo by Victor David Sandiego, description from Wikipedia