Welcome, the water’s voice
To one whom black sand overwhelmed,
Welcome, to the curved hand
The smooth column of the marble,
Welcome, slender labyrinths of water
Between the lemon trees,
Welcome the melodious zéjel,
Welcome is love, welcome the prayer
Offered to a God who is One,
Welcome the jasmine.
Vain the scimitar
Against the long lances of the host,
Vain to be the best.
Good to know, foreknow, grieving king,
That your courtesies are farewells,
That the key will be denied you,
The infidels’ cross eclipse the moon,
The afternoon you gaze on prove your last.
Jorge Luis Borges
Translation by A. S. Kline