Saturday, June 7, 2014

Bathing in the River of Time

Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong is its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away.
- Marcus Aurelius
Time is the substance from which I am made. Time is a river which carries me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger that devours me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire that consumes me, but I am the fire.
-Jorge Luis Borges
To gaze at a river made of time and water
and remember Time is another river.
To know we stray like a river
and our faces vanish like water.

To feel that waking is another dream
that dreams of not dreaming and that the death
we fear in our bones is the death
that every night we call a dream.

To see in every day and year a symbol
of all the days of man and his years,
and convert the outrage of the years
into a music, a sound, and a symbol.

To see in death a dream, in the sunset
a golden sadness--such is poetry,
humble and immortal, poetry,
returning, like dawn and the sunset.

Sometimes at evening there's a face
that sees us from the deeps of a mirror.
Art must be that sort of mirror,
disclosing to each of us his face.

They say Ulysses, wearied of wonders,
wept with love on seeing Ithaca,
humble and green. Art is that Ithaca,
a green eternity, not wonders.

Art is endless like a river flowing,
passing, yet remaining, a mirror to the same
inconstant Heraclitus, who is the same
and yet another, like the river flowing.
-Jorge Luis Borges, "The Art of Poetry"
To that I (Dante) answered: ‘As far as I remember
I have not ever estranged myself from You (Beatrice),
nor does my conscience prick me for it.’

‘But if you cannot remember that,’
she answered, smiling, ‘only recollect
how you have drunk today of Lethe,

‘and if from seeing smoke we argue there is fire
then this forgetfulness would clearly prove
your faulty will had been directed elsewhere.’
- Dante, "Purgatorio" [XXXIII.91-99 (tr. Hollander)]


  1. Yes, I like "The Art of Poetry" very much! It's soothing.....

  2. I'm glad you didn't burn this f.i.g. Just yet. ;-)

  3. The effigies of burnt fig's are often much clearer in my mind than those that survive. The willful act of burning them seems to make the images much more pronounced and permanent.

    I think that Thamus was right (Plato, "Phaedrus"). Writing things down is not so much an aid to memory as it is to reminiscence.