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




 

La Recoleta
Saturday, September 10, 2016








As the dark and wet days for nights that are November it is easy to lie in bed and in melancholy reflect on death. I do this a lot perhaps after having lived so many years of my formative years in Mexico. One of my favourite places in Buenos Aires is the cemetery of La Recoleta. This past April I visited it with my friend Nora Patrich and our favourite model/subject Yuki. Yuki is a frequent visitor of La Recoleta. She has a friend. Her friend is the particular cat in the photograph. There are many cats in La Recoleta but this is one that she feeds with regularity. 

Borges wrote several poems about La Recoleta and he mentioned how he would end his living days there. Alas this was not to be. He is buried in Geneva not far from Charlie Chaplin.



La recoleta - Jorge Luís Borges

Convencidos de caducidad
por tantas nobles certidumbres del polvo,
nos demoramos y bajamos la voz
entre las lentas filas de panteones,
cuya retórica de sombra y de mármol
promete o prefigura la deseable
dignidad de haber muerto.
Bellos son los sepulcros,
el desnudo latín y las trabadas fechas fatales,
la conjunción del mármol y de la flor
y las plazuelas con frescura de patio
y los muchos ayeres de a historia
hoy detenida y única.
Equivocamos esa paz con la muerte
y creemos anhelar nuestro fin
y anhelamos el sueño y la indiferencia.
Vibrante en las espadas y en la pasión
y dormida en la hiedra,
sólo la vida existe.
El espacio y el tiempo son normas suyas,
son instrumentos mágicos del alma,
y cuando ésta se apague,
se apagarán con ella el espacio, el tiempo y la muerte,
como al cesar la luz
caduca el simulacro de los espejos
que ya la tarde fue apagando.
Sombra benigna de los árboles,
viento con pájaros que sobre las ramas ondea,
alma que se dispersa entre otras almas,
fuera un milagro que alguna vez dejaran de ser,
milagro incomprensible,
aunque su imaginaria repetición
infame con horror nuestros días.
Estas cosas pensé en la Recoleta,
en el lugar de mi ceniza.


Recoleta Cemetery

By Jorge Luis Borges
Translated by Stephen Kessler

Convinced of decrepitude
by so many certainties of dust,
we linger and lower our voices
among the long rows of mausoleums,
whose rhetoric of shadow and marble
promises or prefigures the desirable
dignity of having died.
The tombs are beautiful,
the naked Latin and the engraved fatal dates,
the coming together of marble and flowers
and the little plazas cool as courtyards
and the many yesterdays of history
today stilled and unique.
We mistake that peace for death
And we believe we long for our end
when what long for is sleep and indifference.
Vibrant in swords and in passion,
and asleep in the ivy,
only life exists.
Its forms are space and time,
they are magical instruments of the soul,
and when it is extinguished,
space, time, and death will be extinguished with it,
as the mirrors’ images wither
when evening covers them over
and the light dims.
Begnign shade of trees,
wind full of birds and undulating limbs,
souls dispersed into other souls,
it might be a miracle that they once stopped being,
an incomprehensible miracle,
although its imaginary repetition
slanders our days with horror.
I thought these things in the Recoleta,
in the place of my ashes.



     

Previous Posts
Nadie te quita lo bailado

Nina Strips

I pay - in Satin Cash

The Golem - This is my foot, this yours, and this ...

The Rose Window of Chutreaux

Angst On Victory Square

Slivovitz With Zvonko

My Personal Gioconda

El Reloj de Arena - The Hour Glass

Many Happy Returns



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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