Difficult to narrow it down with Borges. But here are two favorites.Ars Poetica
by Jorge Luis Borges. [trans. W. S. Merwin]
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.( In Spanish ) In Praise of Darkness
by Jorge Luis Borges [trans. Hoyt Rodgers]
Old age (the name that others give it)
can be the time of our greatest bliss.
The animal has died or almost died.
The man and his spirit remain.
I live among vague, luminous shapes
that are not darkness yet.
whose edges disintegrated
into the endless plain,
has gone back to being the Recoleta, the Retiro,
the nondescript streets of the Once,
and the rickety old houses
we still call the South.
In my life there were always too many things.
Democritus of Abdera plucked out his eyes in order to think;
Time has been my Democritus.
This penumbra is slow and does not pain me;
it flows down a gentle slope,
My friends have no faces,
women are what they were so many years ago,
these corners could be other corners,
there are no letters on the pages of books.
All this should frighten me,
but it is a sweetness, a return.
Of the generations of texts on earth
I will have read only a few-
the ones that I keep reading in my memory,
reading and transforming.
From South, East, West, and North
the paths converge that have led me
to my secret center.
Those paths were echoes and footsteps,
women, men, death-throes, resurrections,
days and nights,
dreams and half-wakeful dreams,
every inmost moment of yesterday
and all the yesterdays of the world,
the Dane’s staunch sword and the Persan’s moon,
the acts of the dead,
shared love, and words,
Emerson and snow, so many things.
Now I can forget them. I reach my center
my algebra and my key,
Soon I will know who I am.( In Spanish )