If I could live again my life,

June 13, 2007


Her petite, elegant grandmother offered her cheek to him to be kissed softly, gently like the flutter of butterfly wings. She once teased him that she wanted a real Hollywood kiss. Her face holds the secret of ageless beauty. I wanted to write a comment on her facebook but I was speechless so instead I searched for a poem . . .

If I could live again my life,
In the next – I’ll try,
– to make more mistakes,
I won’t try to be so perfect,
I’ll be more relaxed,
I’ll be more full – than I am now,
In fact, I’ll take fewer things seriously,
I’ll be less hygienic,
I’ll take more risks,
I’ll take more trips,
I’ll watch more sunsets,
I’ll climb more mountains,
I’ll swim more rivers,
I’ll go to more places – I’ve never been,
I’ll eat more ice creams and less lima beans,
I’ll have more real problems – and less imaginary ones,
I was one of those people who live
prudent and prolific lives -
each minute of his life,
Of course that I had moments of joy – but,
if I could go back I’ll try to have only good moments,

If you don’t know – that’s what life is made of,
Don’t lose the now!

I was one of those who never goes anywhere
without a thermometer,
without a hot-water bottle,
and without an umbrella and without a parachute,

If I could live again – I will travel light,
If I could live again – I’ll try to work bare feet
at the beginning of spring till the end of autumn,
I’ll ride more carts,
I’ll watch more sunrises and play with more children,
If I have the life to live – but now I am 85,
– and I know that I am dying …

Attributed to Jorge Luis Borges*

thank you to ze’s page and poethunter for posting this

* According to Francisco Peregil from Madrid in Lima, Peru, this was not written by Borges. Louis-Ferdinand Destouches aka Louis-Ferdinand Céline (1894–1961).

In Emily’s blog entry (2010-05-07) entitled “Pierre Menard: autor del Quijote” she described her delight upon reading

“Told from the perspective of a petty, possibly-unreliable academic (the voice strongly reminded me of Nabokov’s Charles Kinbote from Pale Fire; I’m assuming Borges was a strong influence), it takes the form of a faux journal article singing the praises of fellow academic Pierre Menard, an early twentieth-century Frenchman whose “visible” work consists of a few sonnets and articles on French Symbolist poets. The narrator argues that Menard’s real contribution to literature, however, is that he has produced several chapters of Don Quijote, line-by-line identical with the original work, yet not copied—originating with Menard despite coinciding exactly with the analogous chapters of Cervantes. The conceit is hilarious and, of course, ridiculous, but Borges uses it to bring up so many interesting questions of context and perspective, especially considering the story’s brevity. The narrator argues, for example, that Menard’s Quijote fragments are richer, more nuanced than Cervantes’, despite being identical to them: Cervantes, he says, was simply writing in the style of his own time, whereas Menard makes a conscious decision to compose in an archaic Spanish which is even more alien to him because of his French origin. Not only that, but Menard’s passages take on new meanings in light of the myriad advances in psychological and historical thought in the intervening centuries. (Please forgive my rough translation abilities.) “Atribuer a Louis Ferdinand Céline o a James Joyce la Imitación de Cristo ¿no es una suficiente renovación de esos tenues avisos espirituales?” [Isn't the act of attributing the Imitation of Christ to Louis Ferdinand Céline or James Joyce, a sufficient renewal of those faded spiritual warnings?]“

From wikipedia April 2010

“At times, confronted with an idea for a work that bordered on the conceptual, rather than write a piece that fulfilled the concept, he wrote a review of a nonexistent work, as if it had already been created by some other person. The most famous example of this is “Pierre Menard, author of the Quixote“, which imagines a twentieth-century Frenchman who tries to write Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote verbatim—not by having memorized Cervantes’ work, but as an “original” narrative of his own invention. Initially he tries to immerse himself in sixteenth-century Spain, but dismisses the method as too easy, instead trying to reach Don Quixote through his own experiences. He finally manages to (re)create “the ninth and thirty-eighth chapters of the first part of Don Quixote and a fragment of chapter twenty-two.” Borges’s “review” of the work of the fictional Menard uses tongue-in-cheek comparisons to discuss the resonances that Don Quixote has picked up over the centuries since it was written, by way of overtly discussing how much “richer” Menard’s work is than that of Cervantes, even though the actual words are exactly the same.”

See also Ivan Almeida: Jorge Luis Borges, author of the poem “Moments”

Beatriz Sarlo: Borges: a Writer on the Edge

http://www.sjuannavarro.com/files/borgespierremenard.pdf

6 Responses to “If I could live again my life,”

  1. eau.flynn Says:

    oh thank you maureen..that’s one my favourite poems. it’s so beautiful. i loved it so much that when i was in university i bought the book. it’s called “If I Could Live My Life Over”…it’s got a collection of poems..i’ll show you when you come…

  2. NightWalker Says:

    It was very interesting for me to read the article. Thanks for it. I like such themes and everything connected to them. I would like to read a bit more on that blog soon.

    Sincerely yours

  3. Moshood Says:

    I kind of figure out that we are where we are as a result of what we do or didn’t do.Although I aint saying I’m Mr Perfect but I like what my life has turned out to be; and I don’t know if living otherwise(in my next life) would make it any better than this. If I could live my life over again, I wouldn’t live differently; I would live like I do this life.

    If you want to know more about why I said that, check out this post http://gettingyourfreedom.blogspot.com/2010/10/if-i-could-live-life-over-7-things-i.html

  4. saurabh goyal Says:

    ohhhh really… it’s a great poem…. very nice.. n it becomes one of the favourite poem…


  5. If I could live again my life,
    In the next – I’ll try,
    – to make more mistakes,
    I won’t try to be so perfect,
    I’ll be more relaxed,
    I’ll be more full – than I am now,
    In fact, I’ll take fewer things seriously,
    I’ll be less hygienic,
    I’ll take more risks,
    I’ll take more trips,
    I’ll watch more sunsets,
    I’ll climb more mountains,
    I’ll swim more rivers,
    I’ll go to more places – I’ve never been,
    I’ll eat more ice creams and less (lime) beans,
    I’ll have more real problems – and less imaginary ones,
    I was one of those people who live
    prudent and prolific lives –
    each minute of his life,
    Of course that I had moments of joy – but,
    if I could go back I’ll try to have only good moments,

    If you don’t know – that’s what life is made of,
    Don’t lose the now!

    I was one of those who never goes anywhere
    without a thermometer,
    without a hot-water bottle,
    and without an umbrella and without a parachute,

    If I could live again – I will travel light,
    If I could live again – I’ll try to work bare feet
    at the beginning of spring till the end of autumn,
    I’ll ride more carts,
    I’ll watch more sunrises and play with more children,
    If I have the life to live – but now I am 85,
    – and I know that I am dying …


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