Chard deNiord

The Muse Writes Luis Jorge Borges A Letter On His 86th Birthday
August 9, 2014 deNiord Chard

The Muse Writes Luis Jorge Borges A Letter On His 86th Birthday


The night has entered your eyes

with algebra and fire,

señor, so please don’t listen

anymore to  María Kodama

who says you’ve buried something

already immortal in

the library of the past.

She’s only repeating what

I said about Sappho,

Dante, and Shakespeare—

that no poet can

become his own under-

taker until he’s dead

himself. That such burial

is death’s work alone

and no one else’s, especially

the poet’s. Although she walks

beside you like your mother

on the streets of Buenos Aires,

you must leave her behind

on the road that’s not a road

you’ve chosen to walk by yourself

at night with me if you wish

to see at all. You’re almost

invisible now that you’re

so famous, which María

for no reason you

can blame her, is

as blind to as you are

to a wall, unlike the others

who pass you on the street

without regard, except

for the child who watches the way

you stop at every corner

to sign the air with your cane

as if it were the title

page of a book of poems,

which it is, it is—the one

you’ve been writing for centuries

in poet years and have finished

now that you’ve come to see

so much in the light of darkness.

Chard deNiord is the author of seven books of poetry, most recently In My Unknowing (University of Pittsburgh Press 2020) and Interstate (U. of Pittsburgh, 2015). He is also the author of two books of interviews with eminent American poets titled Sad Friends, Drowned Lovers, Stapled Songs, Conversations and Reflections on 20th Century Poetry (Marick Press, 2011) and I Would Lie To You If I Could  (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2018). He co-founded the New England College MFA program in 2001 and the Ruth Stone Foundation in 2011. He served as poet laureate of Vermont from 2015 to 2019 and taught English and Creative Writing for twenty-two years at Providence College, where is now a Professor Emeritus. He lives in Westminster West, Vt. with his wife, the painter, Liz Hawkes deNiord.