Saturday, November 28, 2015

東: Dayrise Through Poplars/ Madrugada entre los álamos

Dayrise through poplars
sinless, straight and ever young:
like geometry.

E. A. Costa, 28 November, 2015 San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

東: Madrugada entre los álamos

Madrugada entre los álamos
puros, erguidos y siempre jóvenes
como geometría.

tr. E. A. Costa
Note: The Chinese character (here old form) dong is a graph of the sun rising behind a tree. Note also that in Spanish erguidir, from which erguido, which is applied mainly to posture, is derived from the Latin erigere—or ex plus regere, and from the root of the latter also the Spanish recto and derecho. The English observes the so-called syllabic rules of the haiku. In Spanish no attempt at that is made, beyond concision.  A preliminary and different version of this was published online in regard to the Russian poet Osip Mandelstam's ("The Admiralty"), in which the poplar is prominent, though with a much different thrust.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Autumn in San Juan del Sur/ Otoño en San Juan del Sur

Out of bright transparent air
descends a swarm of cloudless sulphur butterflies,
gyring and fluttering to the strand
like leaves in meteoric autumn.

As quickly as they fall wings reborn
fly up from the sand and off,
for here there is no autumn--
only milky-toothed summer surf
forever smiling in warm foam.

E. A. Costa November 16, 2015  San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

Otoño en San Juan Del Sur

Se cae del aire brillante y claro
un enjambre de mariposas de azufre cristalino,
girando y ondeando como hojas en otoño meteórico.

Tan pronto como besan la playa
flotan como alas arriba y se vuelan,
porque aquí no hay ningún otoño--
sólo cachones de estío con colmillos lechosos
que ríen sin fin en la espuma cálida.

Tr. E. A. Costa

N.B: Phoebis Sennae, commonly called the "cloudless sulphur
butterfly" in English (mariposa de azufre cristalino), in Spanish
simply "Febo".

Friday, September 25, 2015

Bandelier: Quadratic 2134

In  lucid intervals of memory recalling:


that one recalls (not knowing all)
yonder outline and asks it:

why are you not black
like a sketch in India ink
or charcoal?

There, in that place,
there is a sense of someone

There is a map or chart.

There is a recipe for reconstruction.

There is a sign,


in the sacred air between seeing and seen,
with presque vu he searches for and is searched,
with the tip of the tongue--maiden middlehood.

Where? How far away in time or space?

How? Where the mode of knowing what
one cannot immediately find is waiting
in the wings of


waiting like an icicle or falling oak?

How old is oneness lost not so long ago,
the loss then lost as well & all returned,
all made good?

Loss is the smell of sweat in mountain lairs,
lost is the stage play of terraced rock and cliff,
lost are the ghosts of tribes who no longer exist.

Did I ever tell you about Bandelier
among the antlers where I wrapped
rawhide around a stick with bells and feathers
and set it in the shrine?

"One deer", it said, "yours or mine,
for one or both of you."

It was an electromagnetic wave of impersonal reward:

"You are welcome here for you have respected us."

And there in this between: "But only for a time."

And next morning we walked down the trail to the pueblos
seen across the pink canyon below--


as in four square,
as in the ancient Chinese ZHONG,

which is a place with a banner
raised to sky and burrowing into earth,

dead center, the KAIROS
which exists anywhere in time,
backwards and forwards.

I thought she read minds.
I thought she read my mind.
I thought she saw and smelled
the vast eons around us—inhaled
them with her eyes.

I thought she saw the spirits--
men women and happy children
around one smokepole as if
they left the light on for us,

The deer came years later.
It was a confused and naive buck.
He got it through the heart
close-up with a 12 gauge slug.

It gasped and fell.

He skinned and butchered it.

It was venison for one winter.

He knew then there was only the one,

yours or mine, for one or both of us.

E. A. Costa 25 September, 2015 Granada, Nicaragua

Friday, September 18, 2015

De Quevedo: Retirado en la paz de estos desiertos (con traducción al inglés)

Retirado en la paz de estos desiertos,
con pocos, pero doctos libros juntos,
vivo en conversación con los difuntos,
y escucho con mis ojos a los muertos.

Si no siempre entendidos, siempre abiertos,
o enmiendan, o fecundan mis asuntos;
y en músicos callados contrapuntos
al sueño de la vida hablan despiertos.

Las grandes almas que la muerte ausenta,
de injurias de los años vengadora,
libra, ¡oh gran don Josef!, docta la imprenta.

En fuga irrevocable huye la hora; 
pero aquélla el mejor cálculo cuenta, 
que en la lección y estudios nos mejora.

Don Francisco de Quevedo y Villegas.

Cloistered in the Peace of These Deserts

Cloistered in the peace of these deserts,
cloistered with a few learned books,
I exist in lively conversation with the dead,
listening with eyes to the disappeared.

If not always grasped they remain ever open,
amending or enriching my ways and means,
and in the silent music of point and counterpoint
speak wide-eyed and awake in life's dream.

These great souls--megalopsychoi--carried off by death!
Revenger of  an age of insult and calumny--frees them
a scholar's press, oh, grand Don Joseph!

In unrecallable flight, like time's arrow, 
flees the hour counted as best trajectory,
in what by lesson & study betters us.

Tr. E. A. Costa 

E. A. Costa 18 September, 2015  Granada, Nicaragua

Metaekphrasis To Everett Millais' Ophelia

                  “Then harbour no smile on your bonny face
                    To win the deepest sigh...”
                                                              Elizabeth Siddal

Truly look at me and you will see
a world crueler and more misanthropic
than any Marquis de Sade...

E. A. Costa  18 September, 2015 Granada, Nicaragua

Monday, September 14, 2015

An Illustrated History of Two Semicircles

                        "What is this, where am I? 
                            Where does earth end and heaven begin?”
                                              Yun Sondo (tr. L. Gross)

There is barely tenable
the pretty voice

tantalizing the vast jagged
monument of her inscriptions:

what you have to say is writ,

writ in water and stone,

writ for eyes of salt and tear,

writ for blocks syllabic in 3 dimensions,

algebraic and geometrical:

                         If angle of eye is all, IF...

    You have seen the long seas now,

seen while you were young.

You have seen the long airs,

seen them going wrong.

You age having been gifted.

Where is the long ground

at your feet, defending more

than past pain and present abstraction,

where is the future that glides

over more than alien hierarchy:

                   hurrying,  free from but not in...

From fluid English electric you

move to sudden destroying bolts,

slide singing from the north and understand

those who fight, eyeless, stock-still still,

immovable to all else and why:

                               no words will be so full...

Only then will you know.
how easy it has been:

I am glittering over the wind, Icarus--
Fear, alternate me,
rise me
with cold hands
twisting my chair
and tearing my chamber.
Hiding underneath
this mantle
leek-green longitude
protecting like a tortoise shell... 

E. A. Costa 14 September, 2015 Granada, Nicaragua
NB: The three short phrases beginning “If angle...”, “hurrying...”, and “no words...” are reworked citations of and allusions to Suli Kwock Kim's “Slant”. This poem is a tribute to Kim's elegant poetry in English, to that of Yon Se-Ondo (Yun Seundo) in Korean, and to a number of incisive, if far too neglected, English translators and publicizers of Korean traditional poetry, including Peter Lee, L. Gross, & others.

Nightfall / La caída de la noche

Has night ever fallen into the sea
to rise again the following day
for the funeral of the sun?

Who knows save sly two-faced moon?

E. A. Costa 14 September, 2015 Granada, Nicaragua

La caída de la noche

¿Ha caído alguna vez la noche
en el mar y al otro día se ha levantado
para asistir al funeral del sol?

¿Quién sabe salvo bifronte luna astuta?