World speaking out

Daisy Zamora poem translated

Daisy Zamora is a Nicaraguan poet who has written about women’s rights, politics, revolution, art, history, and more. She fought against the Somoza dictatorship in the 1970s, and joined the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) in 1973.

During the revolution she was program director for clandestine Radio Sandino, and after the FSLN came to power, she was appointed vice minister of culture for the new government. With that position, she was able to work with Ernesto Cardenal on programs that brought poetry, reading, literacy and books to remote areas of the country.

She has written numerous collections of poetry and political essays, and edited the first comprehensive anthology of Nicaraguan women poets published in Latin America.

I’ve translated one of my favourite poems by Zamora, which looks at how we (particularly women) relate to our bodies. The original Spanish is below it.

Celebration of the body

I love this body of mine that has lived life,
its hip flask outline, its softness of water,
the spurting of hair that crowns my cranium,
the crystal glass of a face, its delicate base
that ascends faultless from shoulders and collarbone.

I love my back, gullible to turned-off stars,
my revealed hills, fountains of the chest
that provide the first sustenance of the species.
Coming out of the ribs, mobile waist
overflowing and warm vessel of my stomach.

I love the moon curve of my hips,
moulded by alternate pregnancies,
the vast roundness of the wave of my gluteals,
and my legs and feet, foundations and support of the temple.

I love the handful of dark petals, the hidden fleece
that stores the dawning mystery of paradise,
the humid cavity where blood flows
and living water shoots out.

This hurting body of mine that gets sick,
that festers, that coughs, that perspires,
secretes moods, feces, saliva,
and that gets tired, exhausted, and withers.

Living body, link that assures
the infinite chain of successive bodies.
I love this body made of the purest mud:
seed, root, sap, flower, and fruit.