El Reloj de Arena — The Hour Glass — Jorge Luís Borges

Rosemary Elizabeth Waterhouse-Hayward — 1968

One day after our 49th wedding anniversary February 8, 2017 — Un día después de nuestro aniversario de bodas — Photographs Alex Waterhouse-Hayward

The Hourglass, by Jorge Luis Borges (la poesía de Borges en castellano a continuación)

It is appropriate that time be measured

by the stark shadow cast by a stake in summer

or by the flow of water in the river

where Heraclitus saw time’s ironies

since, seen as time and fate, they are alike:

the movement of the mindless daytime shadow

and the irrevocable running on

of river water following its flow.

Just so, but time discovered in the deserts

another substance, smooth and of some weight,

that seemed to have been specifically imagined

for measuring out the ages of the dead.

And so appears this instrument of legend

in the engravings in the dictionary,

an object graying antiquarians

will banish to a dusty underworld

of things — a single chessman, a broadsword,

now lifeless, and a clouded telescope,

sandalwood worn away by opium,

a world of dust, of chance, of nothingness.

Who has not hesitated, seeing that hourglass,

severe and sombre, in the god’s right hand,

accompanying the scythe he also handles,

the image Dürer copied in his drawing?

Through a top opening, the inverted cone

slowly lets fall the wary grains of sand,

a gradual gold that, loosening, fills up

the concave crystal of its universe.

Pleasure there is in watching how the sand

slowly slithers up and makes a slope

then, just about to fall, piles up again

with an insistence that appears quite human.

The sand of every cycle is the same

and infinite is the history of sand;

so, underlying your fortunes and your sorrows,

yawns an invulnerable eternity.

It never stops, the spilling of the sand.

I am the one who weakens, not the glass.

The rite of the falling sand is infinite

and, with the sand, our lives are leaving us.

In the timing of the sand, I seem to feel

a cosmic time: all the long history

that memory keeps sealed up in its mirrors

or that has been dissolved by magic Lethe.

All these: the pillar of smoke, the pillar of fire,

Carthage, Rome, and their constricting wars,

Simon Magus, the seven feet of earth

the Saxon offers the Norwegian King —

all are obliterated, all brought down

by the tireless trickle of the endless sand.

I do not have to save myself — I too

am a whim of time, that shifty element.

Está bien que se mida con la dura

Sombra que una columna en el estío

Arroja o con el agua de aquel río

En que Heráclito vio nuestra locura

El tiempo, ya que al tiempo y al destino

Se parecen los dos: la imponderable

Sombra diurna y el curso irrevocable

Del agua que prosigue su camino.

Está bien, pero el tiempo en los desiertos

Otra substancia halló, suave y pesada,

Que parece haber sido imaginada

Para medir el tiempo de los muertos.

Surge así el alegórico instrumento

De los grabados de los diccionarios,

La pieza que los grises anticuarios

Relegarán al mundo ceniciento

Del alfil desparejo, de la espada

Inerme, del borroso telescopio,

Del sándalo mordido por el opio

Del polvo, del azar y de la nada.

¿Quién no se ha demorado ante el severo

Y tétrico instrumento que acompaña

En la diestra del dios a la guadaña

Y cuyas líneas repitió Durero?

Por el ápice abierto el cono inverso

Deja caer la cautelosa arena,

Oro gradual que se desprende y llena

El cóncavo cristal de su universo.

Hay un agrado en observar la arcana

Arena que resbala y que declina

Y, a punto de caer, se arremolina

Con una prisa que es del todo humana.

La arena de los ciclos es la misma

E infinita es la historia de la arena;

Así, bajo tus dichas o tu pena,

La invulnerable eternidad se abisma.

No se detiene nunca la caída

Yo me desangro, no el cristal. El rito

De decantar la arena es infinito

Y con la arena se nos va la vida.

En los minutos de la arena creo

Sentir el tiempo cósmico: la historia

Que encierra en sus espejos la memoria

O que ha disuelto el mágico Leteo.

El pilar de humo y el pilar de fuego,

Cartago y Roma y su apretada guerra,

Simón Mago, los siete pies de tierra

Que el rey sajón ofrece al rey noruego,

Todo lo arrastra y pierde este incansable

Hilo sutil de arena numerosa.

No he de salvarme yo, fortuita cosa

De tiempo, que es materia deleznable.

Link to: El Reloj de Arena — The Hour Glass — Jorge Luís Borges

Originally published at blog.alexwaterhousehayward.com.




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Into Bunny Watson. I am a Vancouver-based magazine photographer/writer. I have a popular daily blog which can be found at:http://t.co/yf6BbOIQ alexwh@telus.net

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