I'm trying to translate another poem by Jorge Luis Borges into English:
Mis libros (que no saben que yo existo)
son tan parte de mí como este rostro
de sienes grises y de grises ojos
que vanamente busco en los cristales
y que recorro con la mano cóncava.
No sin alguna lógica amargura
pienso que las palabras esenciales
que me expresan están en esas hojas
que no saben quién soy, no en las que he escrito.
Mejor así. Las voces de los muertos
me dirán para siempre.
My attempt is:
My books (that don't know I exist)
are as much a part of me as this face
of temples grey and grey eyes
that vainly I seek in looking glasses
and that I retrace with concave hand.
Not without bitter logic
I think that the essential words
that express myself exist in their pages
which know not who I am, not in those I have written.
Better that way. The voices of the dead
speak to me forever.
But I made a flying leap when I got to los cristales. Normally I would expect it to mean just the same as its cognate: "the crystals". But that doesn't fit the context very well. (Why would he seek his face in crystals?) But Borges didn't use los espejos, which I believe is the usual word for mirror. Does my old-fashioned word for mirror ("looking glass") capture any of Borges meaning in the poem?