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“Things That Might Have Been”

Saint Bede

Saint Bede the Venerable

In the waning days of 2015, here is a simple poem by Jorge Luis Borges entitled “Things That Might Have Been.” Think of them as a head start for your New Year’s Resolutions.

Things That Might Have Been

I think of things that weren’t, but might have been.
The treatise on Saxon myths Bede never wrote.
The inconceivable work Dante might have had a glimpse of,
As soon as he’d corrected the Comedy’s last verse.
History without the afternoons of the Cross and the hemlock.
History without the face of Helen.
Man without the eyes that gave us the moon.
On Gettysburg’s three days, victory for the South.
The love we never shared.
The wide empire the Vikings chose not to found.
The world without the wheel or the rose.
The view John Donne held of Shakespeare.
The other horn of the Unicorn.
The fabled Irish bird that lights on two trees at once.
The child I never had.