"Three very ancient faces stay with me:
one is the Ocean, which would talk with Claudius,
another the North, with its unfeeling temper,
savage both at sunrise and at sunset;
the third is Death, that other name we give
to passing time, which wears us all away.
The secular burden of those yesterdays
from history which happened or was dreamed,
oppresses me as personally as guilt.
I think of the proud ship, carrying back
to sea the body of Scyld Sceaving,
who ruled in Denmark, underneath the sky;
I think of the great wolf, whose reins were serpents,
who lent the burning boat the purity
and whiteness of the beautiful dead god;
I think of pirates too, whose human flesh
is scattered through the slime beneath the weight
of waters which were ground for their adventures;
I think of mausoleums which the sailors
saw in the course of Northern odysseys.
I think of my own death, my perfect death,
without a funeral urn, without a tear."
Jorge Luis Borges. Elegy.
@1 year ago with 27 notes
"… There was a room at the rear of the house in which there were three tables, at which sat men like himself, who also cast charity into exile, and he said that he conversed with them, and was confirmed by them day by day, and told that no other theologian was as wise as he. He was smitten by that adoration, but since some of the persons had no face, and others were like dead men, he soon came to abominate and mistrust them. Then he began to write something about charity; but what he wrote on the paper one day, he did not see the next; for this happens to every one there when he commits any thing to paper from the external man only, and not at the same time from the internal, thus from compulsion and not from freedom; it is obliterated of itself… ."
Jorge Luis Borges. A Theologian In Death. Et Cetera.
@1 year ago with 28 notes
Every single thing becomes a word
in a language that Someone or Something, night and day,
writes down in a never-ending scribble,
which is the history of the world, embracing
Rome, Carthage, you, me, everyone,
my life, which I do not understand, this anguish
of being enigma, accident, and puzzle,
and all the discordant languages of Babel.
Behind each name lies that which has no name.
Today I feel its nameless shadow tremble
in the blue clarity of the compass needle,
whose rule extends as far as the far seas,
something like a clock glimpsed in a dream
or a bird that stirs suddenly in its sleep.
Jorge Luis Borges. Compass.
@1 year ago with 198 notes
"… A book that does not contain its counterbook is considered incomplete… ."
Jorge Luis Borges. Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius.
@1 year ago with 48 notes
"… The flattery of posterity is worth very little more than the flattery of one’s contemporaries, which is not worth anything, and can be bought with a pocketful of loose change… ."
Jorge Luis Borges. A Dialogue Between Dead Men.
@1 year ago with 34 notes
"The night assigns us its magic
task. To unravel the universe,
the infinite ramifications
of effects and causes, all lost
in that bottomless vertigo, time.
Tonight the night wants you to forget
your name, your elders and your blood,
every human word and every tear,
what you would have learned from staying awake,
the illusory point of the geometricians,
the line, the plane, the cube, the pyramid,
the cylinder, the sphere, the sea, the waves,
your cheek on the pillow, the coolness
of the fresh sheet, gardens,
empires, the Caesars and Shakespeare
and the hardest thing of all, what you love.
Oddly enough, a pill can
erase the cosmos and erect chaos."
Jorge Luis Borges. Sleep.
@1 year ago with 76 notes
To look at the river made of time and water
And remember that time is another river,
To know that we are lost like the river
And that faces dissolve like water.
To be aware that waking dreams it is not asleep
While it is another dream, and that the death
That our flesh goes in fear of is that death
Which comes every night and is called sleep.
To see in the day or in the year a symbol
Of the days of man and of his years,
To transmute the outrage of the years
Into a music, a murmur of voices, and a symbol.
To see in death sleep, and in the sunset
A sad gold — such in poetry,
Which is immortal and poor. Poetry
Returns like the dawn and the sunset.
At times in the evenings a face
Looks at us out of the depths of a mirror;
Art should be like that mirror
Which reveals to us our own face.
They say that Ulysses, sated with marvels,
Wept tears of love at the sight of his Ithaca,
Green and humble. Art is that Ithaca
Of green eternity, not of marvels.
It is also like the river with no end
That flows and remains and is the mirror of one same
Inconstant Heraclitus, who is the same
And is another, like the river with no end.
Jorge Luis Borges. Ars Poetica.
@1 year ago with 30 notes
#Borges #ta panta rhei #Heraclitus
"You are invulnerable. Have they not granted you,
those powers that preordain your destiny,
the certainty of dust? Is not your time
as irreversible as that same river
where Heraclitus, mirrored, saw the symbol
of fleeting life? A marble slab awaits you
which you will not read — on it, already written,
the date, the city, and the epitaph.
Other men too are only dreams of time,
not indestructible bronze or burnished gold;
the universe is, like you, a Proteus.
Dark, you will enter the darkness that awaits you,
doomed to the limits of your traveled time.
Know that in some sense you are already dead."
Jorge Luis Borges. To Whoever Is Reading Me.
@1 year ago with 22 notes