Gaze at the river. It is time and water.
Remember that time is itself a river
Know that we too recede always into the past.
See all of our faces flow by, like a river
and feel that to wake up is only to dream again
and that each of those dreams is as real
as the other; and that the death
which we fear so much is nothing but sleep.
Know that a day, or a year, is only a sign
for every one of all of your days and your years;
and so transform the discourtesy of ageing
into music, rumour, a system of signs, no more.
See, in death, sleep; see, in that twilight
a melancholy gold. That is what poetry is,
immortal, modest, returning always
like every sunset, like every dawn.
Sometimes in the evening mirror
we see our own gaze, looking back at us;
art must be just such a mirror
that shows us nothing but who we are.
It is said that Ulysses, wearied of wonders,
wept with love, when he came home:
back to Ithaca, so modest, so green. Art
is that Ithaca, that unremarkable eternity.
It is also an unending river, a mirror
which flows on by and still stays still;
reflecting the me that stares at itself,
always the same, always changing.
Borges, Arte Poetica