Jorge Luis Borges – Shinto


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When sorrow lays us low
For a second we are saved
By humble windfalls
Of mindfulness or memory:

The taste of a fruit, the taste of water,
That face given back to us by a dream,
The first jasmine of November,
The endless yearning of the compass,
A book we thought was lost,
The throb of a hexameter,
The slight key that opens a house to us,
The smell of a library, or of sandalwood,
The former name of a street,
The colors of a map,
An unforeseen etymology,
The smoothness of a filed fingernail,
The date we were looking for,
The twelve dark bell-strokes, tolling as we count,
A sudden physical pain.

Eight million Shinto deities
Travel secretly throughout the earth.
Those modest gods touch us--
Touch us and move on.

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