“Heine” by Juan Gustavo Cobo Borda

The poem “Heine” which is from an anthology of poetry complied by Julio Ortega is both poignant and brimming with meaning.

“Al final solo quedaba el idioma

y ese antiguo oficio de Dios

que es perdonar.”


My translation into English is as follows:

“In the end all that remained was language

and that ancient work of God

which is to forgive.”


“Heine” is a poem that is poignant in its combined brevity and meaning, which together capture the infinite nature of two human preoccupations: language and the work of God.

Some time ago I blogged about Jorge Luis Borges’ observation that the library is infinite. It is infinite because the language that fills books is infinite by definition. Not only is language infinite, it is constantly evolving.

God is understood as infinite in his nature also. For believers, his capacity for forgiveness is without bounds.

Cobo Borda is illustrating that as we come to our end, or finitude, as human beings, we will be survived by our mode of communication which is also an expression of our art, and the forgiveness we choose to share.


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