Tag Archives: Costa Rica living

Diary: El Cajón de Grecia, November 27, 2021

Posts have been slow in coming the last few months. We’ve been busy preparing our applications for citizenship. Now everything has been submitted and accepted, and we await final approval which should be forthcoming within just a few months. We’ll soon officially be costarricenses.

The dogs and cats demand attention, which we happily provide as they are such good company. Viva is quite the adventuress.

It’s a long ways down from there

The garden and the vivero demand their time, too. Orchids here are blooming the year around.

Orchid blooming in a palm tree

I’ve also been very busy preparing the translations of Rosibel Morera’s book of poetry, I can only sing of of lovers, for publication as an ebook. I’ve pretty much set everything else aside so I can get this project finished up. Here’s a poem I’ve just finished working over, it’s one of her most powerful. I hope I’ve done it justice.


The birds have gone

in the distance, the spiraling flock
breaks into bits of augury

I foresee the feast

nearby, smitten,
an old man listens to the ceaseless chatter
of a girl debuting
the budding of her allure

and she performs just in fun
and with the curl of her eyelashes
and with flutter of words gestured
barely perceptible

someone threw into the river of the dead fish
a summer bouquet
to join the courtship

I think about you
you perhaps being here

I know that in all of this moment suspended
slow to move
this water gently rising
to collect the corpses
spewed by the grandeur of the tide
we are not them, neither you nor I
and they don’t bode separation
final farewells
because, always advancing, 
—these, those or whomever—
cross the bridge to here
with portent of hands interlaced
that cannot conceive of being left, of goodbyes
of playing even for a moment, just in fun
the game of separations.

but you are here, even though, God save me, I wish it weren’t so.

an atemporal roundness
like an atmosphere that envelops you
enwraps my mind

the last fish ingests your full remoteness
your not being here

the old man hums a song that perhaps
just perhaps
belongs to him.

los párajos se han ido

a lo lejos, la bandada, en espiral
descompone sus piezas agoreras

adivino el festín

cerca, enamorado,
un viejo escucha la plática inacabable
de una muchacha que estrena
el despunte de su seducción

y juega a reír
y a la curva de sus pestañas
y a un manoteo de palabras gestuales
apenas visibles

alguien lanzó al río de los peces muertos
un ramo veranero
que se suma al cortejo

yo pienso en ti
en que acaso estuvieras

sé que todo este espacio detenido
lento en pasar
esta agua mansa que sube
a recoger los cadáveres
arrojados por el esplendor de la marea
no somos ni tú ni yo
ni profetizan abandonos
adioses definitivos
porque, siempre vinientes,
los enamorados
–estos, aquellos o cualquiera–
cruzan el puente hacia acá
con su presagio de manos entrelazadas
que no atinan a dejarse, a despedirse,
a jugar sólo por un momento, por reír,
el juego de las separaciones

estás aunque, líbreme Dios, no lo quisiera

una redondez atemporal
como un aire que te tiene
me envuelve al pensar

el último pez consume su lejanía completa
su no estar aquí

el viejo tararea una canción que tal vez
sólo tal vez
le pertenezca.

Credits: Photos by Irina

Diary: El Cajón de Grecia, November 12, 2021

The rainy season here has drawn to a close. Los vientos alisios – the trade winds – have sprung up once again, and afternoon temperatures are a bit warmer. While we still might see an occasional afternoon shower, they are light and brief. The humidity has dropped, It’s nice to see things dry out a bit.

One of our most treasured orchids has come into bloom again, occupying a place of honor in the entrance to our house.

I have revised a poem I first published at this site a couple of months ago. Something in the back of my mind was telling me that it wasn’t finished yet, that it was missing something. Heart, I think. Here’s the latest version, I’ve added another stanza and given it a new name.

Passionfruit caterpillars 

On the patio tiles
a writhing black lump 
larvae traveling faster 
than any one could alone.

A rolling swarm of caterpillars
those on the ground crawling
at normal speed
those climbing their backs 
cover twice as much distance
those running on top
nearly four times as fast
all swapping positions
each taking their turn. 

So says the science
theory, math, measure.
But often, watching
them out in the open
without seeming aim
amble for hours
then rest still roiling
dark bodies warming
under the sun.

This morning the mass 
quickly crossing ceramics
disappears into dense 
green growth of garden.

I’ve also still been working on preparing Rosibel Morera’s book of poems, “I Can Only Sing of Lovers,” for publication as an ebook. Here’s a translation of one I just finished working on. It’s very personal, very sensual.

You call me, consume me
From the center of the soul
from right there, starting
by the fingertips upwards
with the same sonance with which one sings
and below where you clasp to pull me to you
from there you have me.

From where the voice springs
that speaks the names
coming one by one
from a sleeping memory
settled, asleep because it is still
because it hovers halfway
in the middle of things
dust of thought
of infinite spaces.

From there you have me, call me, consume me,
each time more alive
farther along the way.

And here’s the poem in the original Spanish.

Me llamas, me consumes

Del centro del alma
de ahí mismo, partiendo,
por la punta de los dedos hacia arriba
de la misma sonoridad con que se canta
y debajo de donde me atas para halar
de ahí me tienes.

De donde proviene la voz
la que dice los nombres
como llegando en sucesión 
de una memoria dormida
estable, dormida porque es quieta
porque flota en la mitad
al medio de las cosas
polvo de pensamiento
de los espacios infinitos.

De ahí me tienes, me llamas, me consumes
cada vez más viva
más alargada de distancias.

Yesterday Irina and I went to the office of the Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones in Alajuela to file the paperwork for Costa Rican citizenship. We had to take two friends with us, two citizens who had known us for at least eight years who were willing to swear to our good character and worthiness to become naturalized Costa Ricans. It took a couple or three hours to get through all the paperwork, but everything is signed, stamped, and submitted.

Afterwards, lunch at Jalapeños: Katherine and Ste[anie from Outlier Legal Services, Jim, Irina, Ligia, Isaac

Now all we have to do is wait for three months or so and we’ll be official Ticos. That will be so nice.

¡Pura vida!

Credits: photos by Irina