Hail to Thee, Nicaragua!

We present this work in honor of the poet’s 135th birthday.

Salomón Ibarra Mayorga
Nicaraguan
1887 – 1985

 

Hail to thee, Nicaragua! On thy land
roareth the voice of the cannon no more,
nor doeth the blood of brothers now stain
thy glorious bicolor banner.

Let peace shine beautifully in thy sky,
and nothing dimmeth thine immortal glory,
for labor is thy well-earned laurel
and honor is thy triumphal emblem,
is thy triumphal emblem!

The Flower and the Hummingbird

Esthela Calderón
Nicaraguan
b. 1970

 

“I have a hummingbird!”
said the flower.

He wraps me in his fine beak
and his wounding tongue.

Shakes me with the tireless beating of his wings.
I pulse in his rushing heart.
Sleep on the heights
of his forest.

As a flower,
I rest
on the blinding brightness
of his plumage.

My hummingbird
hurls himself against the bell tower of my body.
Rips petals from my flesh.
Invents a song
with the music of his unblinking eyes
and the fierceness of his flight.

He flies through the garden.

Comes and goes
among the flowered paths,
searching for the abyss
of bitter honey.

He dies and is reborn
where frost falls, covering the world
of my pollen.

Mortally Wounded

Claribel Alegria
Nicaraguan
1924 – 2018

 

When I woke up
this morning
I knew you were
mortally wounded
that I was too
that our days were numbered
our nights
that someone had counted them
without letting us know
that more than ever
I had to love you
you had to love me.
I inhaled your fragrance
I watched you sleeping
I ran the tips of my fingers
over your skin
remembered the friends
whose quota was filled
and are on the other side:
the one who died
a natural death
the one who fell in combat
the one they tortured
in jail
who kicked aside his death.
I brushed your warmth
with my lips:
mortally wounded
my love
perhaps tomorrow
and I loved you more than ever
and you loved me as well.

Translation by Darwin J. Flakoll

Precious Mahogany

06-23 Watson
Brigitte Zacarías Watson
Nicaraguan
b. 1961

 

I tried to defend you,
I thought there might be
Someone else who loved you
As I love you.

Here I am, beneath you
Caressing your precious timber,
Protecting you with my hands
From those who claim to love you.

Lies!
They see you bleed and they laugh as they stuff their pockets

With dollars, from your suffering.

 

Translation by Jessica Powell

Geometry of the Woman

03-28-22 Corriols
Marianela Corriols
Nicaraguan
b. 1965

 

I am a woman
Round as the universe
A pyramid that ignores its secrets
Triangular in some parts
with perfect and calculable hypotenuses
on any one of its sides.

I am a woman
Square and stubborn
when it’s about you
Pentagonal when I plan
the most secret of my weapons

I am a woman
Lineal
the shortest distance
between your all and my nothing

I am a woman
point
perhaps of your references

 

Translation by Nicolás Suescún

Far Away

We present this work in honor of the poet’s 155th birthday.

01-18 Dario
Rubén Darío
Nicaraguan
1867 – 1916

 

Ox that I saw in my childhood, as you steamed
in the burning gold on the Nicaraguan sun,
there on the rich plantation filled with tropical
harmonies; woodland dove, of the woods that sang
with the sound of the wind, of axes, of birds and wild bulls:
I salute you both, because you are both my life.

You, heavy ox, evoke the gentle dawn
that signaled it was time to milk the cow,
when my existence was all white and rose;
and you, sweet mountain dove, cooing and calling,
you signify all that my own springtime, now
so far away, possessed of the Divine Springtime.

 

Translation by Lysander Kemp

Tremol Hotel

10-07 Pasos
Joaquín Pasos
Nicaraguan
1914 – 1947

 

Waxen whores and young Anabaptists
cross paths beneath this window in the Tremol Hotel.
I sleep here.
I eat in this gold and hibiscus dining room.
Every night I dance with Zulita.
Every morning the man at the next table wishes me good day.
This is in the Tremol Hotel, beneath whose windows
the paths cross
of waxen whores and young Anabaptists.

But I have a soul as tender as marshmallows,
and my eyes flash on and off like the intermittent neon signs.
That’s why I love this hotel, this little rest, a locket of serenity.

Across the street, a sad sidewalk and a public clock drawn my eye each year,
and thereupon I invent a tenderness old and ripe.
In the Tremol Hotel, no one know me yet,
in spite of my familiarity with its doors and its swallows.
No one, maybe not even aviators,
can treasure as I do
these post-card memories.

 

Translation by Yolanda Blanco and Chris Brandt

Outside Times Ten and One Within

09-23 Castellon
Blanca Castellón
Nicaraguan
b. 1958

 

I
Outside

is desert
keen to be river

there’s laughter I don’t listen to

folk walk around
whose hearing is blind

outside no hugs are given
there’s haste and abysses

bridges have gone missing

II
Outside

there are no dogs in the street
no tiny red turtles

not one lizard
basking in rooftop sun

III
Outside

is the moon whose breast
gapes with wounds

a plague of poets
fouls the silence

the tree says goodbye to its roots
and no one feels sad

art like crime
leaves its trail of clues

IV
Outside

there’s dirty linen
shamelessly displayed

trash is deep
outside it’s sickening

deep is the past
deep the future

there’s dried-up vomit
in the volcano’s crater

field on field
of lamentation

there’s Washington
Iraq
Somalia
Haiti

V
Outside

it’s dangerous
to break the spell

there are black verses
forever on everyone’s lips

outside I panic
the sweet names
are exhausted

VI
Outside

there’s no cosy bed
no sheet without stains

no eye pure in its seeing
no easy distances

no mother
no father

outside is a landscape
of forgotten letters

VII
Outside

a child
bursts waiting into tears

there are ulcers in the shadows

traffic in caprice
and other narcotics

books no one will read
outside is absence

VIII
Outside there’s reliable evidence
of angels who rain down coffee

there are tricksters
old photographs

clever flowers
that fade on cue

outside dreams hurt
and drums rumble with evil

cracks in the earth
are spreading

IX
Outside

the poor come back
to die in traps

there’s hunger and a
closed horizon

outside is long

narrow
dry

there’s dust
bones

and a welter of bodies
in a common sky

X
Outside

another outside
is under construction.

XI
Within

joy is here within
deep within

dig
and water gushes

within is Nicaragua.

 

Translation by Roger Hickin