Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Instant

Where are the centuries, where is the dream
of sword-strife that the Tartars entertained,
where are the massive ramparts that they flattened?
Where is the wood of the cross, the Tree of Adam?

The present is singular. It is memory
that sets up time. Both succession and error
come with the routine of the clock. A year
is no less vanity than is history.

Between dawn and nightfall is an abyss
of agonies, felicities and cares.
The face that looks back from the wasted mirrors,
the mirrors of night, is not the same face.
The fleeting day is frail and is eternal:
expect no other Heaven, no other Hell.

J.L. Borges, from The Self and the Other

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