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Three Poems by Benito del Pliego

by Benito del Pliego
Translated from Spanish by
Forrest Gander
Issue 19 Online Exclusive

The Horse:
(Augusto Monterroso)

–“They lie who claim they’re free and no one holds their reins.
I’ve heard it said there are unmastered horses, but I think about
their riders.

And the rider, who nails your shoes to your hooves and
saddles you, brings to your flanks the boots that spur him on.”

The Spider:

— “The web is all-encompassing memory and brings everything
to itself, holding it in and trapping it. What grazes the edge also
touches the center.

You repeat your pattern and when you try to vary the template,
you relapse, because none is better than the one that binds you.

Only an acrobat can escape; the acrobat, who risks his life as he
endangers the lives of others.”

The Fly:

— “What’s emphasized is virtue and conviction. ‘You insist
on your ruin and find your salvation’– as a poet said.

We accept hunger and cold, but dissatisfaction stabs us
through the heart.

A miserable little world, desire transforms it into glorious
honey: it provokes us and quenches us, and it buries us.”

Benito del Pliego is a poet, researcher, and professor. He has published six poetry books, and his research interests include contemporary Spanish and Latin American poetry and literature. He also has studied migrations and exile in the Spanish-speaking world.
Forrest Gander was born in the Mojave Desert and grew up, for the most part, in Virginia. Trenchant periods of his life were spent in San Francisco, Dolores Hidalgo (Mexico), and Eureka Springs, Arkansas. With degrees in both geology and English literature, Gander is the author of numerous books of poetry, translation, fiction, and essays. He’s the A.K. Seaver Professor of Literary Arts and Comparative Literature at Brown University. A U.S. Artists Rockefeller fellow, Gander has been recipient of grants from the NEA, the Guggenheim, Howard, Witter Bynner and Whiting foundations. His 2011 collection Core Samples from the World was an NBCC and Pulitzer Prize finalist for poetry, and his 2018 collection Be With won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry and was longlisted for the National Book Award.