Monday, April 25, 2016

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


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.


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.

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