100 Refutations: Day 44


Within a mad forest,
Cold and humid like a cistern,
Goes an old man holding a lantern,
leaning on his walking stick and looking for truth.
His hand quivers, and the light with it.

Tired, on he goes, faithless. Then, stops, looks…
always, nothing. The forest is empty!…
“Let me find a true lie,
that would be truth enough, my God!”

There are also, in the forest, many children. Carrying
happily, every one, his own truth.
And on that truth in turn, when over-turned, a new
truth turned over, that truthfully says that it lies.
The old man trembles. The sun is sick. It snows.

Then he sits down and says, “The forest is empty:
Truth is, truth doesn’t exist.”
Then he contemplates the nonsense notion,
And sadly exclaims:
“And if that’s a lie as well, my God?…”


Santiago Argüello

Santiago Argüello (1871-1940) was a well-known Nicaraguan poet, playwright, and political activist, and a contemporary of Rubén Darío, another famous Nicaraguan poet.

Lina M. Ferreira C.-V.

Lina M. Ferreira C.-V. earned MFAs in creative nonfiction writing and literary translation from The University of Iowa. She is the author of Drown Sever Sing from Anomalous Press and Don’t Come Back from Mad River Books, as well as editor, with Sarah Viren, of the forthcoming anthology Essaying the Americas. Her fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and translation work has been featured in journals including Bellingham ReviewChicago ReviewFourth GenreBrevityPoets & Writers, and The Sunday Rumpus, among others. She won Best of the Net and Iron Horse Review’s Discovered Voices Award, has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes, and is a Rona Jaffe fellow. She moved from Colombia to China to Columbus, Ohio to Richmond, Virginia, where she works as an assistant professor for Virginia Commonwealth University. Visit www.linawritesessays.com.

English translation copyright (c) Lina M. Ferreira C.-V., 2018.