|Coghlan - my friend poet Rubén Derlis|
In 1962 for two years I attended the Mexico City University of the Americas where I took engineering (I failed electricity as I had no capacity for capacitance). I also studied philosophy with Spanish philosopher Ramón Xirau. He instructed me well as I now spend loads of time at night, on my bed, thinking about ontological mysteries.
In my copy of Rex Warner’s The Greek Philosophers, Of Heraclitus of Ephesus (known as The Dark) Circa 500BC, Warner writes:
“How wide, various and deep was his outlook may be indicated by the fact that when we read today the fragments which have survived, we are reminded sometimes of a Hebrew prophet, sometimes of an oracle, sometimes of William Blake, sometimes of T.S. Eliot and sometimes of such modern thinkers as Hegel, Marx or Bertrand Russell.”
Here is the most famous known fragment from Burnet (op, cit, pp.132-41):
41,42 You cannot step twice on the same rivers; for fresh waters are ever flowing in upon you.
At age 80 I have given Heraclitus some thought and have come up with a variation of that river that is related to my love of trains and of my experience with them in Buenos Aires before we left for Mexico City in 1953.
We lived in the Buenos Aires neighbourhood of Coghlan. We had a nearby train station by that name. Only recently did I find out that Coghlan was an English railroad engineer. The British built the Argentine train system (the trains run on the wrong side of the tracks).
From Coghlan I would ride with my mother to the next station of Belgrano R where she taught at the American High School and a couple of blocks away was the grammar school that I attended.
Often my mother, my father, or my abuelita would take me to the end of the line, a cavernous station called Retiro, that looked very much like the London stations. From there we would hop on the subway (el subte) and go as far as Lavalle that then was the film theatre row.
My first ontological connection with train stations happened about a year ago when I dreamt I boarded my train in Coghlan and at every stop people got off. When the train arrived at Retiro I was the only passenger.
I would say that is depressing but the fact is that my family and friends are dying and those who ditch their landlines are as good as dead if I cannot call them. And then there is the increasing element of fading friendships.
My latest connection with Heraclitus and the Coghlan train station is that the train stops and friends and family get off. We chat for a while. Then they get on the train and I never see them again.
And now, when the train arrives, I am on the platform with friends and relatives.
I am the one who boards the train.