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 small

as the hand of a native god.

It offers red fruit

to birds

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

marble head

mutilated by the night. 


 

FISHER

 

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

—immobile—

fixed between waves.

—If your hear

in the dark

midnight

—in high waters—

cries that ask

for the port:

turn the rudder

and flee

 

The dark hull, gnawed away,

outlined in the surf,

(—Sailor!, they cried—)

the broken rigging

rocking and the sails

black and rotten

(—Sailor!—)

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

and flee

 

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)

 

EXILES 

(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 back

to raising the wall with fallen stones.

Regreso a Dariana

Regreso a Antologia de la literatura nicaragüense