Posted July 29, 2021.

Spring, 2021, Adult Contest-Winning Poems, Spanish-Language Category

Spring 2021 Adult Contest Winning Poems for the Spanish Language Category
Judge: Efraín Díaz-Horna

“Recuerdo haber escuchado que un buen poema tiene la gracia de invitarnos a bailar, a pensar o a luchar con la ambiguedad de las palabras. El poema nos invita a destilar la esencia, el mensaje, de la ofrenda que nos hace el poeta. Los poemas que he tenido el placer de leer y evaluar – los leí varias veces, en silencio y en voz alta – que resonaron en lo más hondo de mi ser produjeron en mi las ganas de bailar, reflexionar y pugnar con la incertidumbre de las palabras.

“Escoger los tres poemas que más me gustaron fue un duro dilema para mí.” Efraín Díaz-Horna

“I remember hearing that a good poem has the grace to invite us to dance, to think or to fight with the ambiguity of words. The poem invites us to distill the essence, the message, of the offering that the poet makes to us. The poems that I have had the pleasure of reading and evaluating – I have read them several times, silently and aloud – that resonated in the depths of my being, produced in me the desire to dance, reflect and struggle with the uncertainty of words.

“Choosing the three poems that I liked the most was a tough dilemma for me.” Efraín Díaz-Horna

First Place Spanish Language: “Entre paréntesis” by Nitza Hernández

Se ha colocado entre nosotros un signo de paréntesis
con su curva de entrada y la de cierre
(una para ti y otra para mí) en tiempos de espera en silencio
para expresar lo que (a veces) no podemos decir con nuestras voces
dar sentido a lo inconcebible.

Un paréntesis para repetir el recuerdo
de un aguacero cadencioso en el Caribe (en temporada de sequía)
anhelando derramar su agua cristalina refrescante en nuestros cuerpos.

Un paréntesis inesperado nos ha llegado en tiempos de pandemia.
¿Querrá recalcar la incertidumbre del mañana?
¿Querrá advertirnos que nada es permanente?
Un paréntesis en medio de nosotros pide (a gritos) palabras de ternura
para revelar (sin miedo) cualquier dolor oculto.

Un signo de paréntesis abierto con los suspiros nuestros
en noche de luna nueva,
y cerrado en plena madrugada después de haber tocado las estrellas
(como otras veces hemos hecho)
tras ver girar la tierra desde muy lejos
imaginando alcanzar el infinito.

Un paréntesis de fórmula algebraica
nos invita a insertar cifras de suma, resta y multiplica
experiencias compartidas en la raíz cuadrada
una ecuación de certeza anticipada
(aunque no lo hayamos calculado todavía)
pues el resultado será un número completo
no una fracción de un solo instante.

Un paréntesis que nos permita
sostener el corazón de cada uno entre ese signo paciente y arbitrario
dispuesto a (simplemente) destacar
lo indescifrable del amor y del tiempo en su conjunto.

Judge’s Comment primer lugar: “Entre paréntesis” es el poema que más me emocionó. El poema me habló de la importancia de reflexionar, de encontrar un paréntesis en nuestras vidas, para adentrarnos en el maravilloso paisaje de nuestra existencia. El paréntesis nos da la oportunidad de saborear lo hermoso de la vida, llena de ambiguedades, bajo la sombra del amor.

“In Parenthesis” by Nitza Hernández (English Translation)

A parenthesis sign has been placed between us
with its entry bracket and its closing one
(one for you and the other one for me) in waiting times of silence
to express what (sometimes) we cannot say with our voices
to make sense of the inconceivable.

A parenthesis to repeat the memory
of a lilting downpour in the Caribbean (at drought time)
yearning to pour its crystal clear refreshing water into our bodies.

An unexpected parenthesis has come to us in times of the pandemic.
Does it want to emphasize the uncertainty of tomorrow?
Does it want to warn us that nothing is permanent?
A parenthesis between us asks (crying out) for words of tenderness
to (fearlessly) reveal any hidden pain.

A sign of parenthesis opened with our sighs
on a night of a new moon
and closed in full dawn after having touched the stars
(like other times we have done)
after viewing the earth spinning from far away
imagining to reach infinity.

An algebraic formula parenthesis
invites us to insert addition, subtraction, and multiplication figures
shared experiences in a square root
an anticipated certainty equation
(even though we have not yet calculated it)
for the result will be a whole number
not a fraction of a single instant.

A parenthesis that allows us
to hold the heart of each one between that patient and arbitrary sign
willing to (simply) stand out
the indecipherable of love and time as a whole.

Judge’s Comment: “In Parentheses” is the poem that moved me the most. The poem spoke to me of the importance of reflecting, of finding a parenthesis in our lives, to delve into the wonderful landscape of our existence. The parenthesis, the space, gives us the opportunity to savor the beauty of life, full of ambiguities, under the shadow of love.

Poet’s Bio: Nitza Hernández lives in Salem, Oregon, since 2012, after retiring as a professor from the University of Puerto Rico. She considers herself a bilingual poet. Various of her poems are published in: Antología de Poesía Oregoniana (2017, 2019), Terra Incognita, Oregon Poets Write for Ecological, Social, Political, and Economic Justice (Bob Hill Publishing, 2019), and /pãn| dé| mïk/ 2020: An Anthology of Pandemic Poems by OPA Members. She is also a visual artist.

Second Place Spanish Language: “comesol” by Broderick Eaton

dentro de una mora carmín
dos semillas de café dormidas
espalda a espalda como
manecillas en oración
firmes y esperando

Judge’s Comment segundo lugar: “comesol” es un corto poema lleno de encantadoras imágenes que nos cuchichean aromas de vida muy prontas a despertar.

“suneater” by Broderick Eaton (English Translation)

inside a crimson berry
two coffee seeds asleep
back to back like
small hands in prayer
hard and waiting

Judge’s Comment: “suneater” is a short poem full of charming images that whisper aromas of life very soon to be awakened.

Poet’s Bio: Broderick Eaton’s work appears in numerous publications, including Crosswinds Poetry Journal, Smartish Pace, Writer’s Digest, Flying South, and Verseweavers. She won Sixfold’s Poetry Prize and was a finalist for the Erskine J. Poetry Prize, the 49th Parallel Award, and the Tucson Festival of Books. Her education included studies with Mary Oliver at Sweet Briar College and she recently completed an MFA through Lindenwood University. She lives with her family in the high desert of Oregon.

Third Place Spanish Language: “Invernal” by Concepción Sámano

Tiempo de estancamientos
de agua que se paraliza, se oscurece
niebla demorada
un pantano invadiendo el horizonte
y las estrellas congeladas
en un cielo que se atasca sin fin
sobre el eco del ladrido de perros
y la belleza alba de los pinos nevados.

Del otro lado el río es agua
que corre tras sí misma
navega en sus remansos
para verterse en sus tormentas
que pule rocas
con la paciencia del artista
con la fuerza del cincel.

Pero, más que sólo agua
el río es tiempo, tempestad
palabras ahogadas
desiertos desplazándose
mares viajeros sobre la tierra
es todas las ideas que transcurren en silencio
palabras residuales del subconsciente
escapando de sí mismas.

Yo no sé si la lluvia viene del cielo
para bañar el valle que se extiende por todo el orbe
inexorable y sin prisa por terminar de caer
o es una humedad que brota de las ventanas mismas
empañando su transparencia
no sé si la soledad mana debajo de la nieve
o del silencio marcial de los abetos sobre las colinas
es quizá un ave terrible que sobrevuela a pleno día
esparciendo la sombra entre los bosques silentes
una capa que no arropa
una nostalgia de largos vuelos
de lejanas procedencias en el tiempo
pese a la hierba que puja por brotar con sus flores
de entre la tumba general de todo lo que se ha ahogado
en la geología de éste paisaje.

Judge’s Comment tercer lugar: “Invernal” es un poema que plantea dilemas existenciales. Me habló del mundo en que vivimos, un mundo lleno de dudas, interogantes y certezas que asemejan la fluidez de las aguas de un río.

“Wintry” by Concepción Sámano (English translation)

Time of stagnation
of water that is paralyzed, that darkens
delayed fog
a swamp invading the horizon
and the frozen stars
in a sky that stalls without end
over the echo of the barking of dogs
and the pale beauty of the snowy pines.

On the other side the river is water
that runs after itself
sail in its backwaters
to pour into their storms
that polishes rocks
with the patience of the artist
with the force of the chisel.

But, more than just water
the river is time, storm
drowned words
scrolling deserts
traveling seas over land
is all the ideas that pass in silence
residual words from the subconscious
escaping from themselves.

I don’t know if the rain comes from the sky
to blanket the valley that stretches across the globe
inexorable and in no hurry to finish falling
or is it moisture that comes from the windows themselves
tarnishing its transparency
I don’t know if loneliness flows under the snow
or the martial silence of the pines on the hills
it is perhaps a terrible bird that flies over in broad daylight
spreading the shadow among the silent forests
a cape that does not cover
a nostalgia for long flights
from distant origins in time
despite the grass that tries to sprout with its flowers
from the general grave of all that has died
in the geology of this landscape

Judge’s Comment: “Wintry” is a poem that elicits existential dilemmas. It spoke to me about the world in which we live, a world full of doubts, questions and certainties that resemble the fluidity of the waters of a river.

Poet’s Bio: Concepción Sámano, born in Jaral del Progreso, Gto, México, en 1971. She studied philosophy, has published several collections of poems, and poems and articles in magazines and anthologies. Programmer at Radio Poder. She currently lives in Falls City, Oregon, and participates in various activities aimed at the dissemination of poetry.

Judge’s Bio: Efraín Díaz-Horna was born in Peru. He was educated in Lima, Peru, Oregon and Wisconsin. He holds two graduate degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Efraín worked for the State of Oregon and Multnomah County and retired in 2001. He was described as “a legend in our midst: Philosopher, teacher, artist, poet, director—a true Renaissance Man.” Efraín has been drawing, painting, and writing since he was a child. He has exhibited his art in Oregon, Mexico, Russia, and Peru. His poetry has been published in several newspapers and newsletters and he has authored several books of poetry.

Efraín Díaz-Horna nació en Perú. Recibió su educación en Lima, Perú, Oregón y Wisconsin. Tiene dos títulos de posgrado de la Universidad de Wisconsin-Madison. Efraín trabajó para el estado de Oregón y el condado de Multnomah y se jubiló en 2001. Fue descrito como “una leyenda entre nosotros: filósofo, maestro, artista, poeta, director, un verdadero hombre del Renacimiento”. Efraín dibuja, pinta y escribe desde niño. Ha exhibido su arte en Oregón, México, Rusia y Perú. Su poesía ha sido publicada en varios periódicos y boletines y es autor de varios libros de poesía.

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