A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.




 

El Reloj de Arena - The Hour Glass
Thursday, September 01, 2016






I remember that half a century ago my professor of philosophy Ramón Xirau first told our class about the pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus and his idea that nothing could be really experience in the same way twice as like the waters of a flowing river were always changing and time was the same thing.

While looking at some photographs today of Marli W which I took around 1978 I noticed one that escaped my scrutiny. That Marli is posing on sand made me remember that Borges, who was quite obsessed in the philosophy of Heraclitus had a deep interest in “relojes de arena” or the hourglasses. His particular interest in them was that sand like water went only in one direction.

Thinking back at these images of Marli I can remember the heat of summer, the wonderful coarseness of the sand on my bare feet and the fact that I was most excited at the opportunity to photograph a beautiful woman without the scourge of clothes.



I do not believe that I could return to that beach with a new subject and take these photographs all over again. To be precise I also shot Kodachromes so that would be impossible.
In photography one explores, one discovers, one innovates, one dares and as soon as all that becomes a formula you move on (down river).

 El Reloj de Arena – Jorge Luís Borges

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.

The Hourglass -  J. L. Borges


It is well that time can be measured

With the harsh shadow a column in summer

Casts, or the water of that river

In which Heraclitus saw our folly,



Since both to time and destiny

The two seem alike: the unweighable daytime

Shadow, and the irrevocable course

Of water following its own path.



It is well, but time in the desert

Found another substance, smooth and heavy,

That seems to have been imagined

For measuring dead men’s time.



Hence the allegorical instrument

Of the dictionary illustrations,

The thing that gray antiquaries

Will consign to the red-ash world



Of the odd chess-bishop, of the sword

Defenseless, of the telescope bleared,

Of sandalwood eroded by opium,

Of dust, of hazard, of the nada.



Who has not paused before the severe

And sullen instrument accompanying

The scythe in the god’s right hand

Whose outlines Duerer etched?



Through the open apex the inverted cone

Lets the minute sand fall down,

Gradual gold that loosens itself and fills

The concave crystal of its universe.



There is a pleasure in watching the recondite

Sand that slides away and slopes

And, at the falling point, piles up

With an urgency wholly human.



The sand of the cycles is the same,

And infinite, the history of sand;

Thus, deep beneath your joys and pain

Unwoundable eternity is still the abyss.



Never is there a halt in the fall.

It is I lose blood, not the glass. The ceremony

Of drawing off the sand goes on forever

And with the sand our life is leaving us.



In the minutes of the sand I believe

I feel the cosmic time: the history

That memory locks up in its mirrors

Or that magic Lethe has dissolved.



The pillar of smoke and the pillar of fire,

Carthage and Rome and their crushing war,

Simon Magnus, the seven feet of earth

That the Saxon proffered the Norway king,



This tireless subtle thread of unnumbered

Sand degrades all down to loss.

I cannot save myself, a come-by-chance

Of time, being matter that is crumbling.

From Dreamtigers, by Jorge Luis Borges, translated by Harold Morland




     

Previous Posts
Many Happy Returns

Alastair Macaulay - The foot is at the root of poe...

The Comet 4C - Metal Fatigue & My PC Sync Cord

Capsicum annum (Poblano)

The Sentient Sheep Baas for the last time

¡Cuidado con el perro!

Zapatitos de Charol

Rubén Derlis - Coghlan - Colectivo 219

My Gun is Quick

Phenomenal Woman



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6/28/15 - 7/5/15

7/5/15 - 7/12/15

7/12/15 - 7/19/15

7/19/15 - 7/26/15

7/26/15 - 8/2/15

8/2/15 - 8/9/15

8/9/15 - 8/16/15

8/16/15 - 8/23/15

8/23/15 - 8/30/15

8/30/15 - 9/6/15

9/6/15 - 9/13/15

9/13/15 - 9/20/15

9/20/15 - 9/27/15

9/27/15 - 10/4/15

10/4/15 - 10/11/15

10/18/15 - 10/25/15

10/25/15 - 11/1/15

11/1/15 - 11/8/15

11/8/15 - 11/15/15

11/15/15 - 11/22/15

11/22/15 - 11/29/15

11/29/15 - 12/6/15

12/6/15 - 12/13/15

12/13/15 - 12/20/15

12/20/15 - 12/27/15

12/27/15 - 1/3/16

1/3/16 - 1/10/16

1/10/16 - 1/17/16

1/31/16 - 2/7/16

2/7/16 - 2/14/16

2/14/16 - 2/21/16

2/21/16 - 2/28/16

2/28/16 - 3/6/16

3/6/16 - 3/13/16

3/13/16 - 3/20/16

3/20/16 - 3/27/16

3/27/16 - 4/3/16

4/3/16 - 4/10/16

4/10/16 - 4/17/16

4/17/16 - 4/24/16

4/24/16 - 5/1/16

5/1/16 - 5/8/16

5/8/16 - 5/15/16

5/15/16 - 5/22/16

5/22/16 - 5/29/16

5/29/16 - 6/5/16

6/5/16 - 6/12/16

6/12/16 - 6/19/16

6/19/16 - 6/26/16

6/26/16 - 7/3/16

7/3/16 - 7/10/16

7/10/16 - 7/17/16

7/17/16 - 7/24/16

7/24/16 - 7/31/16

7/31/16 - 8/7/16

8/7/16 - 8/14/16

8/14/16 - 8/21/16

8/21/16 - 8/28/16

8/28/16 - 9/4/16

9/4/16 - 9/11/16

9/11/16 - 9/18/16

9/18/16 - 9/25/16

9/25/16 - 10/2/16

10/2/16 - 10/9/16

10/9/16 - 10/16/16

10/16/16 - 10/23/16

10/23/16 - 10/30/16

10/30/16 - 11/6/16

11/6/16 - 11/13/16

11/13/16 - 11/20/16

11/20/16 - 11/27/16

11/27/16 - 12/4/16

12/4/16 - 12/11/16