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Best Famous Jorge Luis Borges Poems

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by Jorge Luis Borges | |

The Art Of Poetry

 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.


by Jorge Luis Borges | |

We are the time. We are the famous

 We are the time.
We are the famous metaphor from Heraclitus the Obscure.
We are the water, not the hard diamond, the one that is lost, not the one that stands still.
We are the river and we are that greek that looks himself into the river.
His reflection changes into the waters of the changing mirror, into the crystal that changes like the fire.
We are the vain predetermined river, in his travel to his sea.
The shadows have surrounded him.
Everything said goodbye to us, everything goes away.
Memory does not stamp his own coin.
However, there is something that stays however, there is something that bemoans.


by Jorge Luis Borges | |

Susana Soca

 With lingering love she gazed at the dispersed
Colors of dusk.
It pleased her utterly To lose herself in the complex melody Or in the cunous life to be found in verse.
lt was not the primal red but rather grays That spun the fine thread of her destiny, For the nicest distinctions and all spent In waverings, ambiguities, delays.
Lacking the nerve to tread this treacherous Labyrinth, she looked in on, whom without, The shapes, the turbulence, the striving rout, (Like the other lady of the looking glass.
) The gods that dwell too far away for prayer Abandoned her to the final tiger, Fire.


by Jorge Luis Borges | |

The Other Tiger

 A tiger comes to mind.
The twilight here Exalts the vast and busy Library And seems to set the bookshelves back in gloom; Innocent, ruthless, bloodstained, sleek It wanders through its forest and its day Printing a track along the muddy banks Of sluggish streams whose names it does not know (In its world there are no names or past Or time to come, only the vivid now) And makes its way across wild distances Sniffing the braided labyrinth of smells And in the wind picking the smell of dawn And tantalizing scent of grazing deer; Among the bamboo's slanting stripes I glimpse The tiger's stripes and sense the bony frame Under the splendid, quivering cover of skin.
Curving oceans and the planet's wastes keep us Apart in vain; from here in a house far off In South America I dream of you, Track you, O tiger of the Ganges' banks.
It strikes me now as evening fills my soul That the tiger addressed in my poem Is a shadowy beast, a tiger of symbols And scraps picked up at random out of books, A string of labored tropes that have no life, And not the fated tiger, the deadly jewel That under sun or stars or changing moon Goes on in Bengal or Sumatra fulfilling Its rounds of love and indolence and death.
To the tiger of symbols I hold opposed The one that's real, the one whose blood runs hot As it cuts down a herd of buffaloes, And that today, this August third, nineteen Fifty-nine, throws its shadow on the grass; But by the act of giving it a name, By trying to fix the limits of its world, It becomes a fiction not a living beast, Not a tiger out roaming the wilds of earth.
We'll hunt for a third tiger now, but like The others this one too will be a form Of what I dream, a structure of words, and not The flesh and one tiger that beyond all myths Paces the earth.
I know these things quite well, Yet nonetheless some force keeps driving me In this vague, unreasonable, and ancient quest, And I go on pursuing through the hours Another tiger, the beast not found in verse.


by Jorge Luis Borges | |

Shinto

 When sorrow lays us low
for a second we are saved
by humble windfalls
of the mindfulness or memory:
the taste of a fruit, the taste of water,
that face given back to us by a dream,
the first jasmine of November,
the endless yearning of the compass,
a book we thought was lost,
the throb of a hexameter,
the slight key that opens a house to us,
the smell of a library, or of sandalwood,
the former name of a street,
the colors of a map,
an unforeseen etymology,
the smoothness of a filed fingernail,
the date we were looking for,
the twelve dark bell-strokes, tolling as we count,
a sudden physical pain.
Eight million Shinto deities travel secretly throughout the earth.
Those modest gods touch us-- touch us and move on.


by Jorge Luis Borges | |

Browning Decides To Be A Poet

 in these red labyrinths of London
I find that I have chosen
the strangest of all callings,
save that, in its way, any calling is strange.
Like the alchemist who sought the philosopher's stone in quicksilver, I shall make everyday words-- the gambler's marked cards, the common coin-- give off the magic that was their when Thor was both the god and the din, the thunderclap and the prayer.
In today's dialect I shall say, in my fashion, eternal things: I shall try to be worthy of the great echo of Byron.
This dust that I am will be invulnerable.
If a woman shares my love my verse will touch the tenth sphere of the concentric heavens; if a woman turns my love aside I will make of my sadness a music, a full river to resound through time.
I shall live by forgetting myself.
I shall be the face I glimpse and forget, I shall be Judas who takes on the divine mission of being a betrayer, I shall be Caliban in his bog, I shall be a mercenary who dies without fear and without faith, I shall be Polycrates, who looks in awe upon the seal returned by fate.
I will be the friend who hates me.
The persian will give me the nightingale, and Rome the sword.
Masks, agonies, resurrections will weave and unweave my life, and in time I shall be Robert Browning.


by Jorge Luis Borges | |

To A Cat

 Mirrors are not more silent
nor the creeping dawn more secretive;
in the moonlight, you are that panther
we catch sight of from afar.
By the inexplicable workings of a divine law, we look for you in vain; More remote, even, than the Ganges or the setting sun, yours is the solitude, yours the secret.
Your haunch allows the lingering caress of my hand.
You have accepted, since that long forgotten past, the love of the distrustful hand.
You belong to another time.
You are lord of a place bounded like a dream.


by Jorge Luis Borges | |

Remorse For Any Death

 Free of memory and of hope,
limitless, abstract, almost future,
the dead man is not a dead man: he is death.
Like the God of the mystics, of Whom anything that could be said must be denied, the dead one, alien everywhere, is but the ruin and absence of the world.
We rob him of everything, we leave him not so much as a color or syllable: here, the courtyard which his eyes no longer see, there, the sidewalk where his hope lay in wait.
Even what we are thinking, he could be thinking; we have divvied up like thieves the booty of nights and days.


by Jorge Luis Borges | |

That One

 Oh days devoted to the useless burden
of putting out of mind the biography
of a minor poet of the Southem Hemisphere,
to whom the fates or perhaps the stars have given
a body which will leave behind no child,
and blindness, which is semi-darkness and jail,
and old age, which is the dawn of death,
and fame, which absolutely nobody deserves,
and the practice of weaving hendecasyllables,
and an old love of encyclopedias
and fine handmade maps and smooth ivory,
and an incurable nostalgia for the Latin,
and bits of memories of Edinburgh and Geneva
and the loss of memory of names and dates,
and the cult of the East, which the varied peoples
of the teeming East do not themselves share,
and evening trembling with hope or expectation,
and the disease of entymology,
and the iron of Anglo-Saxon syllables,
and the moon, that always catches us by surprise,
and that worse of all bad habits, Buenos Aires,
and the subtle flavor of water, the taste of grapes,
and chocolate, oh Mexican delicacy,
and a few coins and an old hourglass,
and that an evening, like so many others,
be given over to these lines of verse.


by Jorge Luis Borges | |

History Of The Night

 Throughout the course of the generations
men constructed the night.
At first she was blindness; thorns raking bare feet, fear of wolves.
We shall never know who forged the word for the interval of shadow dividing the two twilights; we shall never know in what age it came to mean the starry hours.
Others created the myth.
They made her the mother of the unruffled Fates that spin our destiny, they sacrificed black ewes to her, and the cock who crows his own death.
The Chaldeans assigned to her twelve houses; to Zeno, infinite words.
She took shape from Latin hexameters and the terror of Pascal.
Luis de Leon saw in her the homeland of his stricken soul.
Now we feel her to be inexhaustible like an ancient wine and no one can gaze on her without vertigo and time has charged her with eternity.
And to think that she wouldn't exist except for those fragile instruments, the eyes.