NIGHT IS AN UNKNOWN WOMAN
The girl asked the stranger,
"Why don't you come in?
The fire is lit at my hearth."
The wanderer answered, "I'm a poet,
I only want to know the night."
Then she threw ashes on the fire
and her voice in the shadow drew near the stranger.
"Touch me," she said. "You'll know the night!"
WRITTEN ON A ROADSIDE STONE
DURING THE FIRST ERUPTION
We will cry over the footprints of those who fled from Acahualinca.
Our exodus began here.
They heard the cavernous voice of the monster.
From the high trees they watched the dirty beheaded giant,
the rugged back, only the rugged breast vomiting anger.
We will abandon our country and our kin
because a sterile god has dominated our land.
Our people watched the mindless giant,
they heard the roar of the faceless force.
We will not live under the blind powe’s domination!
We will break our grinding stones,
our earthen jugs,
the plates we cook on,
to lighten the load of the exiled!
Here, our footprints remained
upon the ash.
(From Cantos de Cifar y del Mar Dulce, 1979)
THE BIRTH OF CIFAR
Near the shoals, there’s an island
as the hand of a native god.
It offers red fruit
and a tree’s sweet shade
to shipwrecked sailors.
Cifar, the mariner, was born there
when his mother’s time
came as she rowed
alone toward Zapatera.
She steered the boat to a still place
while sharks and shad
churned the waters,
lured by blood.
WOMAN LYING ON THE BEACH
No stranger to despair,
Cassandra tells me her prophecies of glory
and sorrow while the orphan
that she is spills from the moon.
Everything seems Greek. The old Lake
with its hexameters. The islands
yet to be sung and your lovely
mutilated by the night.
An oar floating
on the waters
was your only epitaph.
THE BLACK SHIP
Cifar, in his dream, heard the cries
and the howling conch in the fog
at dawn. He watched the ship
fixed between waves.
—If your hear
in the dark
—in high waters—
cries that ask
for the port:
turn the rudder
The dark hull, gnawed away,
outlined in the surf,
(—Sailor!, they cried—)
the broken rigging
rocking and the sails
black and rotten
Standing up, Cifar embraced the mast
If the moon
illuminates their faces
ashen and bearded
If they ask you
—Sailor, where are we bound?
If they implore you:
—Sailor, show us the way
to the port!
turn the rudder
They set sail a long time ago
They navigated in the dream centuries ago
They are your own questions
lost in time.
(From Poesía dispersa, 1986 - 1996)
(Dedicated to Stefan Baciu)
When the cock crows I get up and see the sunrise in my country,
lovely and radiant. And my heart is a king receiving his throne.
No. I will not leave the land of my birth. Here, I will die.
But the sun sets and my eyes go back to the country of my dreams
and all the world’s ashes drift down to cover its face.
Then I wish I were a foreigner
so I could return to my country.
Then I hear the cheerful murmur of cities not my own.
I hear the night crowded with exiles.
I ought to leave, I tell myself,
and my dream journeys on with stars as its guardians.
until the cock crows
and dawn once again takes command of my song.
No. I will not leave. And I go backto raising the wall with fallen stones.
Regreso a Dariana
Regreso a Antologia de la literatura nicaragüense