7 Haikus By Jorge Luis Borges
Borges’ admiration for Japan was also expressed in his cultivation of haiku.
The haiku, one of the most famous of Japanese poetic forms, is curiously the only one widely known in the West, even by those deeply interested in poetry.
This is not incidental. The haiku has everything to seduce almost any reader: it’s short, and yet profound. Its appeal is instant, making it arresting and giving it the patina of the eternal. A haiku is also a kind of epiphany, an unexpected revelation about existence. Finally, in its canonical form, haiku turns the multiple forms of nature into an essential presence, a moment of inspiration, a discovery.
In Western countries, haiku began to be cultivated in the late 19th century. In France, in particular, in these years, a keen interest in Japanese culture circulated in the most decisive intellectual circles (among the best known examples is the identification of Debussy’s La Mer, with Hokusai’s The Great Wave off Kanagawa). By the early 20th century, Ezra Pound was also studying and writing haikus, as was the notable Mexican poet, José Juan Tablada.
Though it’s not well known, another tremendously famous author wrote haikus. We refer, of course, to Jorge Luis Borges, who is undoubtedly remembered more for his short stories and poetry and not for this facet of his work.
Borges was, however, a great admirer of Japanese culture, particularly towards the end of his life, by which time he’d made a couple of trips to the country. “I’ve somehow been preparing for the almost total surprise that is Japan,” he said at a conference in 1985, in part because Borges’ fascinations with the Asian country were coincidental with some of the strongest interests of his own life: heroism, civility, gardens.
Haiku is admired above all for two characteristics: the aforementioned brevity and the fact that haiku makes no use of metaphor, but only contemplation, contrast, and statement of fact without any eagerness to convert it to something else.
Thus we share seven haikus written by Borges. The rest may be found in La Cifra (1981).
Something they told me
The afternoon and mountains.
I’ve yet lost it.
This is or is not
the dream that I forgot
before the dawn?
The vast night
Is not now something else
what a fragrance.
Under the eaves
the mirror does not copy
more than the moon.
Is an empire
the light that goes out
or a firefly?
The new moon.
She also looks
from another door.
Far away a trill.
The nightingale does not know
That she consoles you.
Pictorial spiritism (a woman's drawings guided by a spirit)
There are numerous examples in the history of self-taught artists which suggest an interrogation of that which we take for granted within the universe of art. Such was the case with figures like
Astounding fairytale illustrations from Japan
Fairy tales tribal stories— are more than childish tales. Such fictions, the characters of which inhabit our earliest memories, aren’t just literary works with an aesthetic and pleasant purpose. They
A cinematic poem and an ode to water: its rhythms, shapes and textures
Here lies One Whose Name was writ in Water. - John Keats Without water the equation of life, at least life as we know it, would be impossible. A growing hypothesis holds that water, including the
Watch beauty unfold through science in this "ode to a flower" (video)
The study of the microscopic is one of the richest, most aesthetic methods of understanding the world. Lucky is the scientist who, upon seeing something beautiful, is able to see all of the tiny
To invent those we love or to see them as they are? Love in two of the movies' favorite scenes
So much has been said already, of “love” that it’s difficult to add anything, much less something new. It’s possible, though, perhaps because even if you try to pass through the sieve of all our
This app allows you to find and preserve ancient typographies
Most people, even those who are far removed from the world of design, are familiar with some type of typography and its ability to transform any text, help out dyslexics or stretch an eight page paper
The secrets of the mind-body connection
For decades medical research has recognized the existence of the placebo effect — in which the assumption that a medication will help produces actual physical improvements. In addition to this, a
The sea as infinite laboratory
Much of our thinking on the shape of the world and the universe derives from the way scientists and artists have approached these topics over time. Our fascination with the mysteries of the
Sharing and collaborating - natural movements of the creative being
We might sometimes think that artistic or creative activity is, in essence, individualistic. The Genesis of Judeo-Christian tradition portrays a God whose decision to create the world is as vehement
John Malkovich becomes David Lynch (and other characters)
John Malkovich and David Lynch are, respectively, the actor and film director who’ve implicitly or explicitly addressed the issues of identity and its porous barriers through numerous projects. Now