October 25th, 2008

Borges critques a poem

I had an imaginary conversation with Borges today.
I asked him to read a poem of mine.
He said my effort went beyond the limit of my
talent, and thus became forced and artificial.
"Your small gifts cannot be added to
by strenuous posing," he said.
Such distortions drown out the
true parts."

"At least this kind of falsity is an honest one," I replied.
"For it is in my nature to try
To be more than I am--
Not every dilettante
is happy with his lot."

"True," said Borges, adding kindly:
And I can imagine that even the voice
of a hyena might pass for singing
among the less gifted of its kind."

"But if you wish to be a lion of words."
he went on, "you must
say less--
and hunt more."