Poems for staying at home (Day 20)

werewolf castle


Today’s poem, from Costa Rica’s Mauricio Molina, concerns a castle, a bishop, and . . . lycanthrogyny? It is dedicated to Lilith, who howls in the night.


The Old Lycanthrope

The old lycanthrope takes a stroll in Bucharest
There is a chess bishop on the tower of the castle
a yellow flower in his lapel
Black the night and black the blood
He plays the three of clubs
and the rain is the stuff of frogs
The princes of the land
decide once again
They are mistaken even about the colour of
their hats.
Will day break in Bucharest?

The hour is not known to be honest
nor serious
and just in case you ask me
what I gain cutting off the leg
of the batrachian
I will point out to you the poor lycanthrope
Who once again is walking in circles around the square

invents words
to kill the winter
paints her lips white
discovering the sweet pleasure of
She uncorks an apple
and trembles with cold
while thinking
that the goal
is not the wolf

(Translated by Richard Gwyn)

El Viejo licántropo

A Lilith, la que aúlla en la noche

El viejo licántropo se pasea en Bucarest
Hay un alfil sobre la torre del castillo
una flor amarilla en su solapa
Negra la noche la sangre negra
Se juega el tres de bastos
y la lluvia es cosa de ranas
Los príncipes de la tierra
deciden otra vez
Se equivocan hasta en el color de
sus sombreros
¿Amanecerá en Bucarest?

La hora no es conocida por sincera
ni por seria
y si acaso me preguntas
qué gano cortándole la pata
al batracio
te señalo al pobre licántropo
que otra vez da vueltas a la plaza

mientras tanto
para matar el invierno
inventa palabras
pinta del blanco sus labios
descubriendo el dulce placer de
la licantroginia
Descorcha una manzana
y tiembla de frío
mientras piensa
que la meta
no es el lobo


Mauricio Molina was born in Costa Rica in 1967. While living in Colorado, USA, he wrote his first book; Abominable libro de la nieve (México DF: Conaculta, 1999) for which he received the 1998 Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Poetry Prize from the Mexican Cultural Centre. Between 2002 and 2007 he lived in Greece, where he wrote Cuadernos de Salónica (San José: Espiral, 2012). He is currently a professor at the University of Costa Rica.

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