Saturday, February 20, 2010


Porchia was an Argentinian potter of Italian descent, who lived in
poverty in a suburb of Buenos Aires until his death in 1968 at the age of 84.
Roger Callois put a selection of his aphorisms into French in the 1940's.
W.S. Merwin put them into English in 1969, and this was re-issued by Copper
Canyon Press in the 2001.
"Aphorism" usually implies a flash of wit, the upshot of standing a generalization
on its head. Porchia's are not like this. His words feel turned over, felt, and shaped;
there is something turned about them which reminds me that he was a potter
---Merwin's translation conveys this--but they seem to come from a life lead
rather than the products of a personality. You pick them up and look at them like an
interesting stone found at the edge of a shore. The stone is much older than you.
Here are a few of them.

Every toy has the right to break.

He who has seen everything empty itself is close to knowing what everything
is filled with.

Not believing has a sickness which is believing a little.

I believe that a soul consists of its sufferings, for the soul that cures its own
sufferings dies.

Nothing that is complete breaths.

A ray of light erased your name, now I do not know who you are at all.

Yes, I will try to be. Because I believe that not being is arrogant.

The flower that you hold in your hand was born today and already it
is as old as you are.

They will say you are on the wrong road, if it is your own.

Chimeras come singly and leave accompanied.

If you are not going to change your route, why change your guide?

You are sad because they abandoned you, and you did not fall.

I know that I went from the brief before to the eternal afterward of
everything, but I do not know how.

You are a puppet, but in the hands of the infinite, which may be your own.

I also had a summer and burned myself in its name.

They owe you a life and a box of matches and they want to pay you
a box of matches because they don't want to owe you a box of matches.

A large heart can be filled with very little.

If I were a person who led himself, I would not take the path that
leads to death.

You can owe nothing, if you give back its light to the Sun.

No comments:

Post a Comment