New Aphorisms by Ramon Gomez de la Serna

Along with Malcolm de Chazal, Ramon Gomez de la Serna is one of the weirdest and most wonderful (and most woefully neglected) aphorists in the entire history of the form. Gomez de la Serna (see pages 370-371 of Geary’s Guide) died in the early 1960s, having written dozens of books and hundreds of so-called “greguerias“—his own peculiar form of the aphorism. A while back, Laurie-Anne Laget, a professor at France’s Sorbonne, discovered a cache of unpublished greguerias in some boxes deposited at the University of Pittsburgh by the writer’s widow in 1970. This article from the Latin American Herald Tribune tells the story, though sadly it does not name the book in which the new aphorisms appear: 400 Unpublished Gomez de la Serna Aphorisms Come to Light. (If anyone can track the title down, please leave a comment on this post!) Here are a few of Gomez de la Serna’s long-lost sayings… Once again, I thank the ever aphoristically alert Jim Finnegan (check out his blog, ursprache) for bringing this find to my attention.

Words are the skeleton of things and for that reason last longer than things do.

The water lily is a flower that escaped from the trees to navigate the waters.

Capitalist: a gymnast with many telephones.

An ironing board wears a striped undershirt.

Octopi are the gloves of the sea.

What does the moon do in a pond? It washes its face.