Ars Poetica

October 31, 2006 at 2:07 am 5 comments

Jorge Luis Borges

Listen

To gaze at the river made of time and water
And recall that time itself is another river,
To know we cease to be, just like the river,
And that our faces pass away, just like the water.

To feel that waking is another sleep
That dreams it does not sleep and that death,
Which our flesh dreads, is that very death
Of every night, which we call sleep.

To see in the day or in the year a symbol
of makind’s days and of his years,
To transform the ourtage of the years
Into a music, a rumor and a symbol,

To see in death a sleep, and in the sunset
A sad gold, of such is Poetry
Immortal and a pauper. For Poetry
Returns like the dawn and the sunset.

At times in the afternoon a face
Looks at us from the depths of a mirror;
Art must be like that mirror
That reveals to us this face of ours.

They tell how Ulysses, glutted with wonders,
Wept with love to descry his Ithaca
Humble and green. Art is that Ithaca
Of green eternity, not of wonders.

It is also like an endless river
That passes and remains, a mirror for one same
Inconstant Heraclitus, who is the same
And another, like an endless river.

from Dreamtigers, 1964. Tr. by Harold Morland.

En español (thanks Vasha!),

Arte Poética

Mirar el río hecho de tiempo y agua
y recordar que el tiempo es otro río,
saber que nos perdemos como el río
y que los rostros pasan como el agua.

Sentir que la vigilia es otro sueño
que sueña no soñar y que la muerte
que teme nuestra carne es esa muerte
de cada noche, que se llama sueño.

Ver en el día o en el año un símbolo
de los días del hombre y de sus años,
convertir el ultraje de los años
en una música, un rumor y un símbolo,

ver en la muerte el sueño, en el ocaso
un triste oro, tal es la poesía
que es inmortal y pobre. La poesía
vuelve como la aurora y el ocaso.

A veces en las tardes una cara
nos mira desde el fondo de un espejo;
el arte debe ser como ese espejo
que nos revela nuestra propia cara.

Cuentan que Ulises, harto de prodigios,
lloró de amor al divisar su Itaca
verde y humilde. El arte es esa Itaca
de verde eternidad, no de prodigios.

También es como el río interminable
que pasa y queda y es cristal de un mismo
Heráclito inconstante, que es el mismo
y es otro, como el río interminable.

This poem from Dreamtigers ( a translation, of his El Hacedor, that is, The Creator), weaves a pattern with many comparisons, many things, some transient or others eternal, things that pass and those that remain. His poem is not about just the Art of Poetry, it is about Art itself, an exploration of representations of one with the other – for instance, sleep represents death or is death just another form of sleep?

Dreamtigers is a beautiful collection of works by Borges, odd samples of his poetry, prose, sketches, stories and quotations. In not having a fixed purpose or a central unifying theme they create a better reflection of his life, than any one book could aspire to. As the introduction elaborates, “with no other purpose than to show what time accumulates in the bottom of a writer’s desk drawer”. :)

Ars Poetica on pō’ĭ-trē by Archibald MacLeish and Czeslaw Milosz.

[blackmamba]

Entry filed under: Black Mamba, English, Harold Morland, Jorge Luis Borges, Spanish. Tags: .

The Red Wheelbarrow Morning Poem

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Vasha  |  November 1, 2006 at 8:02 am

    For those who’re interested, the poem in Spanish is here.

    Reply
  • 2. blackmamba  |  November 1, 2006 at 6:27 pm

    thanks Vasha! have updated the post with the original in spanish.

    Reply
  • 3. Jaime CASTRO  |  April 6, 2007 at 7:12 pm

    The English version is excellent. As good as the original in Spanish

    Reply
  • 4. claudio pastrana  |  November 6, 2009 at 9:58 am

    El Hacedor it is “The Maker”, not the Creator…
    Thanks
    C

    Reply
  • 5. claudio pastrana  |  November 6, 2009 at 10:03 am

    Ah! and this translate it is more accurated
    At times in the afternoon a face
    Looks at us from the depths of a mirror;
    Art must be like that mirror
    That reveals to us our own face.

    Reply

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