northanger (northanger) wrote,

The Golem

El Golem
Jorge Luis Borges

Yes, (like the Greek says in the Cratilo)
the name is an archetype of the thing,
in the letters of rose is the rose
and all the Nile in the word Nile.
And, made out of consonants and vowels,
there will be a terrible Name, the essence of which
encodes God and which Omnipotence
keeps in exact letters and syllables.

Adam and the stars knew it
in the Garden. The rust of sin
(the cabalists say) has erased it
and the generations lost it.

The artifacts and candor of man
have no end. We know there was a day
in which God's people searched for the Name
in the vigils of judaica.

Not in the manner of others who a vague
shadow insinuate in the vague history,
still green and alive is the memory
of Juda Loew, who was a rabbi in Prague.

Thirsty for knowing what God knows,
Juda Loew devoted himself to permutations
of letters and complex variations
and finally said the Name which is the Key,

the Door, the Echo, the Guest and the Palace,
over a puppet which, with unskilled hands,
he carved, to teach it the arcanes
of the Letters, of Time and of Space.

The simulacrum raised his sleepy
lids and it saw shapes and colors
which he didn't understand, lost in rumors,
and he practiced wary movements.

Gradually he saw himself (like us)
trapped in this noisy web
of Before, After, Yesterday, While, Now,
Right, Left, Me, You, Those, Us.

The cabalist who presided as numen
named the vast creature Golem.
(This truths are referred to by Scholem
in a well known place of his volume).

The rabbi explained the universe to him
(This is my foot; that is yours; this the rope)
and he managed, after years, to have the perverse one
sweep, well or poorly, the synagogue.

Maybe there was a mistake in the writing
or in the articulation of the Sacred name,
in spite of such high sorcery,
the apprentice of man didn't learn to speak.

His eyes, less of man than of dog
and much less of dog than of a thing,
followed the rabbi through the doubtful
gloom of the rooms of the enclosure.

Something abnormal and unskilled was in the Golem,
because wherever he went the rabbis' cat
hid. (This cat is not in Scholem
but, through time, I've guessed its existence).

Raising to his God filial hands,
the doings of his God he copied,
or, stupid and smiling, he hollowed himself
in concave oriental bows.

The rabbi watched him tenderly
and with some horror. How (he said to himself)
could I beget this sorrowful son,
and bequeath such inactivity, what is sanity?

Why did I decide to add to the infinite
series one more symbol? Why, to the superfluous
skein which in eternity unravels,
did I give another cause, another effect and another sorrow?

In the hour of anguish and of vague light,
on his Golem his eyes dwelled.
Who will tell us what was felt by
God, when seeing his rabbi in Prague?


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