9th February 2023


2 minutes read

János Marno


translated by Owen Good

9th February 2023

2 minutes read

Let my scaffold be the bed

in the next room, or if I’m let alone the

bathtub, or this armchair under me

in which I sit cross-legged, knees spread,

my two sit bones on my two heels,

and as I write my gaze keeps glancing

sideways, to my left, to a slim volume

in which Borges speaks on immortality,

an octogenarian, to the University

of Belgrano students. For his own part,

he is dying to see (by then blind as a bat)

the day when Jorge Luis Borges will

come to an abrupt end. Put bluntly:

in that rupture he sees

death’s importance. That he

as Borges exist no longer, this

Borgesian life after all isn’t

really his cup of tea, however were it

to end, at once a fresh opportunity

would arise for real eternal life.

His crystal clear, Latinate reasoning,

bristling with positivity, is both a balm

for my ailing spirit, prone to self-

destruction, accustomed to Hungarian

climes, and cause for bitterness,

inasmuch as my sick lungs and

I needn’t dream of a re-

birth in the city of Buenos

Aires. In a garden district

that borders the slums, and

the green and grime of life osmose.



written by

János Marno

More about the author

Issue 04


More about this issue

translated by

Owen Good

More about the translator


The Personification of Nothing by János Marno
An aphoristic one-word poem by veteran Hungarian poet János Marno that captures both the black humor and the utter pessimism of noir.
Osmosis by János Marno
The Hungarian poet János Marno considers the bright optimism of the ageing Jorge Luis Borges in the face of death, and a new life in Buenos Aires.