Sunday, May 1, 2016

Dents du Bonheur


                      Gat-tothed I was, and that bicam me weel...
                                                          
                                                            Geoffrey Chaucer


In the end what is there of span
in the continuity of human teeth
save fair smile of Venus,
gapped and incisive:

12345678  87654321

whereat precessions
running left and right
delight one in the other
across an interval of air?

E. A. Costa

E. A. Costa      May 1, 2016   Granada, Nicaragua 

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Gary Snyder: How Poetry Comes to Me/ Como viene a mí la poesía


It comes blundering over the
Boulders at night, it stays
Frightened outside the
Range of my campfire
I go to meet it at the
Edge of the light.

Gary Snyder


Como viene a mí la poesía

Viene a mí tropezando
sobre las rocas de la noche.

Asustada--ella permanece
fuera del alcance de la hoguera.

De las llamas me alejo para
juntarme con ella al borde de la luz.

Tr. EAC

E. A. Costa   April 30, 2016   Granada, Nicaragua

Thursday, April 28, 2016

In Medias Res


Doesn’t every fable
fling itself into the middle
to wend its way little by little,
toward many endings
and still more beginnings?

E. A. Costa

In medias res

¿No se lanza cada fábula
en el medio y endereza
sus pasos uno a uno
hacia muchos finales
y muchos más principios?

tr. EAC

E. A. Costa  April 29, 2016  Granada, Nicaragua

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A Poem Has To Be Hard/ Un poema tiene que ser duro


A poem has to be hard
to soften the enemies of poems.
It must be dry after long watery days
at the end of the world.

Sometimes poems just quit out of spite
and lightly and there is no poetry anymore,
only mountains and stars, only sunset and sunrise,
only sleeping peoples.

E. A. Costa  (from E. A. Costa, The Bennington Collection,  April, 2013 Bennington, Vermont)

Un poema tiene que ser duro

Un poema tiene que ser duro
para ablandar a los enemigos de poemas.
Debe ser seco después de días largos y acuosos
al fin del mundo.

A veces los poemas abdican por despecho
y a la ligera y no hay más poesía,
sólo montañas y estrellas, la puesta y salida del sol,
sólo pueblos dormidos.

Tr. EAC


E. A. Costa    April 27, 2016   Granada, Nicaragua

Monday, April 25, 2016

José María Eguren: Los delfines/ The Dauphins


Es la noche de la triste remembranza;
en amplio salón cuadrado,
de amarillo iluminado,
a la hora de maitines
principia la angustiosa contradanza
de los difuntos delfines.
Tienen ricos medallones
terciopelos y listones;
por nobleza, por tersura
son cual de Van Dyck pintura;
mas, conservan un esbozo,
una llama de tristura
como el primo, como el último sollozo.
Es profunda la agonía
de su eterna simetría;
ora avanzan en las fugas y compases
como péndulos tenaces
de la última alegría.
Un Saber innominado,
abatidor de la infancia,
sufrir los hace, sufrir por el pecado
de la nativa elegancia.
y por misteriosos fines,
dentro del salón de la desdicha nocturna,
se enajenan los delfines
en su danza taciturna.


José Maria Eguren


The Dauphins

Arrives the night of gloomy reminiscence
in the broad square ballroom
flushed in yellow light

With the stroke of midnight matins
begins the anguished countredanse
of dead dauphins and heirs apparent

Sport they opulent medallions
velvets
and gilt fillets

By dint of blue blood
through radiance
they step out from Van Dyck--

but only as cartoons-- as a call of sadness, like the first, like the last sob

Deep the agony of their deathless symmetry,
now advancing in fugues and strains
like diehard pendulums slowing to closing glee

Nameless savoir-faire,
slaughterer of childhood
makes them suffer--suffer for the sin
of elegance inborn

and toward some hidden end
in this ballroom of night's misery
in the air of its taciturn dance
these inheritors--these dauphins--these dolphins are carried away

Tr. EAC

E. A. Costa       April 25, 2016      Granada, Nicaragua
__________________________________________________
N.B. In Spanish delfín--”dolphin”--after French dauphin—signified
not only the creature but, through its appearance in heraldry, heirs 
apparent to throne or title. Though originally applied to morning 
services, night service matins, including vigils, gradually moved 
back into the middle of the night, ending at dawn with what was 
originally the morning service. Eguren, whose verse is dense with
music and painting, thus summons up what clearly is a series of
nocturnes, divided into three parts in one version of the night services.
One notes also that the translation, toward various ends, in effect takes
the liberty of ignoring the first semicolon of the original, bringing
to the surface the cryptotype of place--the ballroom--resumed and made
evident in the last four lines.

Francisco Pérez Estrada: Poronga


Manos precolombinas dieron forma a la sed,
modelaron el barro primitivo.

Fue después de la jícara,
fue después del huacal.

Las mujeres congregaron el barro
en la plaza lo juntaron:
barro rojo como el oriente rojo;
barro negro, como el oeste negro;
barro blanco del color del norte;
barro amarillo del color del sur.

Recorrieron la sed para buscar la forma.

Amasaron el barro,
lo redondearon,
lo cocieron.

La poronga trajo el río a nuestras casas,
recogimos el invierno con guizpal.

Francisco Pérez Estrada


Poronga

Hands long before Columbus gave form to their thirst:
they modeled it out of the primeval clay.

That was long after the jícara, long after the huacal.

The women collected the clay.
In the plaza they mixed it together:
clay red like the East,
clay black like the West,
clay white—color of the North,
yellow clay—color of the South.

They ran their fingers over thirst
to find the form.

They kneaded the clay.
rounded it,
baked it.

The poronga brought water to our lodges--
Winter we caught it with the guizpal.

Tr. EAC

E. A. Costa      April 25, 2016       Granada, Nicaragua ____________________________________________
N. B. (1) poronga: a small, spherical container in a fiber sling used 
as a canteen; (2) jícara: container made out of the fruit of the calabash 
tree (Crescentia cujete—jícaro), used especially for drinking chocolate, 
later mimicked by the Spanish in china; (3) huacal: a bowl-shaped
container, also from the fruit of the calabash tree; (4) guizpal: an
apparatus of palm leaf and container to collect water from tree 
trunks during the dry season (“winter” in Central America). Note
that, even in Spanish, the poem as composd has more than a
seeming echo of the rhythm and style used in Henry Wadsworth
Longefellow's Hiawatha, perhaps either directly from the English
or from various Spanish translations.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Transoceania/ Transoceanía


We are here
in the middle of everywhere,
unmoving rowers in a sea that wanders,
bearing us to strange green islands,
like flights of migratory birds.

Rain clouds on the horizon
blown by invisible winds
advance like armies on the march.

Open the casks for sweet streaked water
melding sky and sea!

We put the future at our back,
heave harder on the oars
and point the prow to peaks
we've already dreamed....

E. A. Costa

Transoceanía

Estamos aquí en medio de todas partes,
remeros inmóviles en un mar vagabundo
que nos lleva hacia islas extrañas y verdes
como escuadrillas de aves migratorias.

Sopladas por vientos invisibles
nubes de lluvia sobre el horizonte
avanzan como ejércitos en marcha.

¡Abran los barriles para el agua rayada y dulce
que junta el mar al cielo!

Ponemos el porvenir a nuestra espalda
y tirando los remos apuntamos con la proa
a los picos lejanos que hemos soñado.


Tr. EAC

E. A. Costa  April 23, 2016  Granada, Nicaragua