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

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Jorge Luis Borges, The Art of Poetry

Jorge Luis Borges, Things That Might Have Been

I think of things that weren’t, but might have been.
The treatise on Saxon myths Bede never wrote.
The inconceivable work Dante might have had a glimpse of,
As soon as he’d corrected the Comedy’s last verse.
History without the afternoons of the Cross and the hemlock.
History without the face of Helen.
Man without the eyes that gave us the moon.
On Gettysburg’s three days, victory for the South.
The love we never shared.
The wide empire the Vikings chose not to found.
The world without the wheel or the rose.
The view John Donne held of Shakespeare.
The other horn of the Unicorn.
The fabled Irish bird that lights on two trees at once.
The child I never had with you.

Jorge Luis Borges, Things That Might Have Been