Mystery of Moments
Moments (Spanish: Instantes, German: Augenblicke) is the title of a text widely spread through articles, compilations, posters and email chain letters.
The text is incorrectly attributed to Jorge Luis Borges, thanks to the interview led by Elena Poniatowska in 1975 that was later published in a book “Todo México”.
During the interview Poniatowska read this poem to Borges, but he did not recognize it, although he didn’t denied its authorship.
Many believe that Borges, not recognizing the poem, simply assumed that this is one of his works made in early youth.
Later it was revealed that the first known version of the text was published before 1935, or perhaps earlier that year, in the American magazine College Humor.
It was signed by the humorist and cartoonist Don Herold, under the title “I’d Pick More Daisies”.
Herold published another version, revised, in the October 1953 edition of Reader’s Digest.
The versions that circulate in Spanish are usually organized in the form of a poem, but Herold’s text is in prose, and includes phrases that give it a less melancholic and more skeptical framework.
An apocryphal version, in prose and in English, appeared in 1975 in the Newsletter of the Association for Humanist Psychology, San Francisco, California, 6 and is reproduced in Family Circle magazine in 1978, signed by one Nadine Stair, a 85-year-old woman from Louisville, Kentucky, USA.
However, later the very existence of Nadine Stair came came into question.
Apparently she never existed, but the woman who was credited with the poem was really named Nadine Strain.
It is concluded that both the piece attributed to Borges and the one credited to Stair/Strain are adapted (putting it charitably) from the Herold piece, although it is speculated that Mr. Herold may have gotten his own inspiration from an earlier writing himself, since there appears to be some quote marks after the title around the first line.
Early versions of the text were later modified, adding the final sentence of the text: “But you see, I am 85 years old and I know that I’m dying … “, which doesn’t appear in any of the eary English versions.