When Heraclitus became Borjes (part 2)

In a previous blog I presented a poem called “Heraclitus” by Jorge Luis Borges, the Argentinian poet and author. In that blog I also briefly introduced the pre-socratic Greek philosopher Heraclitus, also reffered to as the “Dark” or “Obscure” because of his complex and mystical thinking.

Here I am sharing another poem by Borges also called “Heraclitus”. Before that I will also quote some fragments of Heraclitus that are referenced in Borges’ work.

You can find more information on the relationship between Borges and Heraclitean philosophy by reading Lesher’s (2017) article “Borges’s Love Affair with Heraclitus” (click here for link to article).


Related fragments

Regarding the river and the idea of the unity of opposites:

We both step and do not step in the same rivers. We are and are not.

Regarding constant change and the unity of opposites one of the many interesting ones is the following:

And it is the same thing in us that is quick and dead, awake and asleep, young and old; the former are shifted and become the latter, and the latter in turn are shifted and become the former.

Regarding day-night and the sun

The sunis new every day.

God is day night, winter summer, war peace, satiety hunger, and he alters just as <fire> when it is mixed with spices is named according to the aroma of each of them

The teacher of the multitude is Hesiod; they believe he has the greatest knowledge–who did not comprehend day and night: for they are one


Heraclitus

The day’s second twilight.
Night that sinks into sleep.
Purification and oblivion.
The day’s first twilight.
Morning that was once dawn.
Day that once was morning.
The crowded day that will become the weary evening.
The day’s second twilight.
That other habit of time, night.
Purification and oblivion.
The day’s first twilight…
The furtive dawn and in the dawn
the Greek’s bewilderment.
What web is this
of will be, is, and was?
What river’s this
through which the Ganges flows?
What river’s this whose source is unimaginable?
What river’s this
that bears along mythologies and swords?
No use in sleeping.
It runs through sleep, through deserts, through cellars.
The river bears me on and I am the river.
I am made of a changing substance, of mysterious time.
Maybe the source is in me.
Maybe out of my shadow
the days arise, relentless and unreal.

 Jorge Luis Borges, In Praise of Darkness (1974)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s