“In the midst of all your memories there is one
Faded away beyond recovering;
Neither the yellow moon nor the white sun
Will ever see you drinking from that spring.”
—Jorge Luis Borges, “Limits”
For more on Borges, be sure to check out our Summer 2012 issue, due to hit newsstands in early June.
Thank you, theamericanscholar.
Jorge Luis Borges
FRENTE AL ESPEJO. Caracas 1982
Por el fotógrafo venezolano Vasco Szinetar (Caracas 1948)
A lover of freedom, though unaffiliated with political groups or parties, Borges opposed the Perón dictatorship. The dictator retaliated by attempting to humiliate him, relieving him of his modest post as librarian and naming him poultry inspector. After the fall of General Perón the Argentine government, kin a desire to attest to his compatriots’ gratitude for his valorous attitude during the difficult years, made him director of the National Library of Argentina.
A man sets himself the task of portraying the world. Through the years he peoples a space with images of provinces, kingdoms, mountains, bays, ships, islands, fishes, rooms, instruments, stars, horses, and people. Shortly before his death, he discovers that that patient labyrinth of lines traces the image of his face.
Buenos Aires, October 31, 1960
“I cannot sleep unless…I am surrounded by books.”
–Jorge Luis Borges
I know little—or nothing—of my own forebears;
The Borges back in Portugal; vague folk
That in my flesh, obscurely, still evoke
Their customs, and their firmnesses and fears.
As slight as if they’d never lived in the sun
And free from any trafficking with art,
They form an indecipherable part
Of time, of earth, and of oblivion.
And better so. For now, their labors past,
They’re Portugal, they are that famous race
Who forced the shining ramparts of the East,
And launched on seas, and seas of sand as wide.
The king they are in mystic desert place,
Once lost; they’re one who swears he has not died.
Jorge Luis Borges from Dreamtigers (trans. by Harold Morland)