19 April 2008

Father, son, writing, handwriting

On my last visit to Madrid I made some pics of this pieces at my parent's house. I often make this kind of gifts and forget that even if I'm not the owner, they are always a work of mine.
I couldn't say how many of them I've absoultely forgotten through the years.

I did and gave this to my father on Christmas 1988. It's a handwriting transcription of "Arte Poética", a poem Jorge Luis Borges wrote in 1960 about time and changes, and passages and all those trivialities.
It's a particular poem since its rhymes are not made with similar words but with just identical words that subtly change their meaning.
For all you barbarian language speakers, I've found this english version on Matt Salomon's blog (really interesting). Thanks Matt and William S. Mervin for the translation.

Ars Poetica by J. L. Borges
To look at the river made of time and water
And remember that time is another river,
To know that we are lost like the river
And that faces dissolve like water.

To be aware that waking dreams it is not asleep
While it is another dream, and that the death
That our flesh goes in fear of is that death
Which comes every night and is called sleep.

To see in the day or in the year a symbol
Of the days of man and of his years,
To transmute the outrage of the years
Into a music, a murmur of voices, and a symbol,

To see in death sleep, and in the sunset
A sad gold—such is poetry,
Which is immortal and poor. Poetry
returns like the dawn and the sunset.

At times in the evenings a face
Looks at us out of the depths of a mirror;
Art should be like that mirror
Which reveals to us our own face.

They say that Ulysses, sated with marvels,
Wept tears of love at the sight of his Ithaca,
Green and humble. Art is that Ithaca
Of green eternity, not of marvels.

It is also like the river with no end
That flows and remains and is the mirror of one same
Inconstant Heraclitus, who is the same
And is another, like the river with no end.

Time after on 1995, when me and Roberta where waiting Fabio's birth, my father wrote this sonnet to his first grandson then yet to come. In 1996 I transcribed it as a cover for an album with photos of Fabio's first year and gave it to my parents. Since black letter is beautiful but not the maximum of legibility (it was not a fortunate choice I think now), I transcribe it:

Del recóndito desván de mi memoria
voy a desempolvar los viejos sones
para alegrar tu infancia con canciones,
con fábulas, con cuentos, con historias...

Abriré todas las puertas a la euforia
echando a volar mi fantasía,
y llevando tu mano de la mía
de tu mundo infantil haré las glorias.

Espero tu llegada y mientras tanto
suavizaré la arista de mis brazos,
mi tosca mano asedará su tacto.

Calentaré mi pecho en tierno abrazo
para arrullar tu sueño con mi canto
cuando duermas dulcemente en mi regazo.

This is my –barbarian, I know– translation into english.

From the remote attic of my memory
I will dust the ancient sounds
To brighten up your childhood with songs,
with fables, with tales, with stories...

I'll open all the doors to euphoria
Letting my fantasy fly off
And with your hand in my hand
I'll make glory of your children's world.

I wait for your arrival and meanwhile
I'll make soft the edge of my arms
My rough hand will silk its touch

I'll warm up my chest in a tender hug
To lull asleep your dream with my chant
When you sweetly sleep over my lap.


  1. magníficos poemas y magnífico trabajo de caligrafía, me hace pensar qué poco valoramos el arte de escribir a mano en esta era tan tecnológica que vivimos.

  2. Great post meu amigo.
    Parabéns pelo excelente trabalho a todos os níveis.

  3. Beautiful work, and a very touching sonnet by your father...

  4. The poem by your father is so beautiful - both his words and your lines. What a treasure that is for Fabio (or will be someday)

  5. Thank you all! Helen and Juj, my father is amazed of having so distant admirers