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WINTER 2022-23

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Carlos Francisco Monge

(Maidens in the park)

Always to the poet
words turn around;
they stun him, they harass him,
they fight to claim their right
to fame and to worldly feasts;
they force him to think, to wander
by the parks, by the room,
during the harvest,
in times of aridity and famine.
They are not silent, they never retreat,
they want to see themselves printed, caressed,
drunk slowly, next to clarity or redemption.
They cloud the soul sometimes,
squeeze the skin with seductive constancy,
recriminate tedium and silence,
they set their route beyond dawn,
matter, shipwreck,
the delusional heart.
But the poet, if he is a poet, is silent;
resists the onslaught, distrusts,
strings together with caution and rest
his incidents, his bearable joy,
your breathing.
The words turn around,
they stun him, they make him dizzy
with relentless beauty,
raptors, greedy,
and he looks them in the eye,
measures them, scrutinizes them.
as dry leaves, loose in the park,
with no promise other than the wind.

Carlos Francisco Monge (b. 1951) is a member of the Costa Rican Academy of Language and correspondent of the Royal Spanish Academy for Costa Rica. The Costa Rican State has awarded him the National Poetry Prize. During his youth, together with Laureano Alban, Julieta Dobles and Ronald Bonilla, he was author of the 1977 Transcendentalist Manifesto.