The Death of Poetry greatly exaggerated


In theory, “Poetry has always been words on a page, open to anyone”, yet most people feel like it is not. Their experience of poetry came mainly from school and they are led to believe – we all know this is true! – that it is difficult and obscure. There is little public forum or discussion for poetry in mainstream discourse. This is not the case for novels or musicals. This is not the case in other countries.

from angrysampoetry blog

(…by the way,  the poet looking at you from the 500 Córdoba note is Rubén Darío )


Portents of Doom


or Truth veiled in Mystery…?

(Perhaps they are the same.)


Canto de esperanza

Rubén Darío  (1867-1916)

Un gran vuelo de cuervos mancha el azul celeste.
Un soplo milenario trae amagos de peste.
Se asesinan los hombres en el extremo Este.

¿Ha nacido el apocalíptico Anticristo?
Se han sabido presagios y prodigios se han visto
y parece inminente el retorno de Cristo.

La tierra está preñada de dolor tan profundo
que el soñador imperial, meditabundo,
sufre con las angustias del corazón del mundo.

Verdugos de ideales afligieron la tierra:
en un pozo de sombra la humanidad se encierra
con los rudos molosos del odio y de la guerra.

¡Oh, Señor Jesucristo! ¿Por qué tardas, qué esperas
para tender tu mano de la luz sobre las fieras
y hacer brillar al sol tus divinas banderas?

Surge de pronto y vierte la esencia de la vida
sobre tanta alma loca, triste o emperdernida
que, amante de tinieblas, tu dulce aurora olvida.

Vén, Señor, para hacer la gloria de ti mismo.
Vén con temblor de estrellas y horror de cataclismo,
vén a traer amor y paz sobre el abismo.

Y tu caballo blanco, que miró el visionario,
pase. Y suene el divino clarín extraordinario.
Mi corazón será brasa de tu incensario.

Song of Hope

Translated by Salomón de la Selva
Vultures a-wing have sullied the glory of the sky;
The winds bear on their pinions the horror of Death’s cry;
Assassinating one another, men rage and fall and die.
Has Antichrist arisen whom John at Patmos saw?
Portents are seen and marvels that fill the world with awe,
And Christ’s return seems pressing, come to fulfill the Law.
The ancient Earth is pregnant with so profound a smart,
The royal dreamer, musing, silent and sad apart,
Grieves with the heavy anguish that rends the world’s great heart.
Slaughterers of ideals with the violence of fate
Have cast man in the darkness of labyrinths intricate
To be the prey and carnage of hounds of war and hate.
Lord Christ! for what art waiting to come in all Thy might
And stretch Thy hands of radiance over these wolves of night,
And spread on high Thy banners and lave the world with light?
Swiftly arise and pour Life’s essence lavishly
On souls that crazed with hunger, or sad, or maddened be,
Who tread the paths of blindness forgetting the dawn and Thee.
Come Lord, to make Thy glory, with lightnings on Thy Brow!
With trembling stars around Thee and cataclysmal woe,
And bring Thy gifts of justice and peace and love below!
Let the dread horse John visioned devouring stars, pass by;
And angels sound the clarion of Judgment from on high.
My heart shall be an ember and in thy censer lie.

Have a nice day.
And don’t forget to read lots of POETRY !:

IMAGE CREDIT: Mirella Ricciardi @

Solomon of the Jungle

He was a Nicaraguan poet—perhaps the next best-known after Rubén Darío [amazing that a poor country with such high illiteracy and poverty can produce such great poetry].  His given name was Salomón de Jesus Selva – but he went by Salomón de la Selva  which  translates into English as “Solomon of the Jungle” .

I love his poem En Granada and I have posted my own translation of it. I first read it one night in 2000, in that very town itself, meditating under the fragrant smoke of a puro, knowing next to nothing about the poet. I did not know then that I would  eventually find my own novia [in the traditional sense of that word],  my own fabulous bride in Granada.  And I learned more about Salomón de la Selva as well.

A very interesting life – he was proud of his tropical roots [hence the pen-name] but he also studied in the US and then  he worked there as a Spanish professor. He had a romance with Edna St. Vincent Millay. He was a soldier in WWI on the British side. He supported Sandino’s revolt against the U.S. but he also chose to spend much of his life in North America. He did magnificent translations of Darío’s works into English. He was the Nicaraguan ambassador to France. He died in Paris and is buried in  Nicaragua. I have visited his crypt there inside the stately cathedral of his birthplace and hometown León.

Granada is a beautiful town, moldering into its colonial Spanish foundations under  the tropical glare and the hurricane downpours.  The volcano Mombacho looms over the city – one of the earliest [founded 1524 by Francisco de Cordoba] continually inhabited Spanish  cities in the New World. Granada is frequented by earth tremors, pulsed by booming cumbia and bachata music,  cursed and blessed by blaring car horns, pestering beggars, gallant mestizos and lovely mestizas, scented with wafting odors of holy incense and tropical stagnation. I love the last line of the poem:  . . . y Granada era Sion [and Granada was Zion].

Have you ever been to Granada, Nicaragua?