Essay's

Poems

One member of the Solentiname Friendship Group, Ann Browning, is an architect
who also writes poetry. She has written many poems about her visits to the
islands. Here are two:

“Walking In Solentiname”

Here on the island of Elvis Chavarria,
Rocks on the narrow paths
That rambles up and down
Often make my walking
Uncertain, unsteady.
Best that I use my walking stick.
I walk the small path
That follows the lakeshore
From house to house.
I greet friends as I go.
Some tracks go up the volcanic hill
To corn fields, passing newly planted
Plantations of balsa
Or maturing orange and avocado trees.
Other paths lead through boa and iguana jungle
To the red bean fields or even
To the rice paddies at the far end of the island.
Near the lakeshore I watch
The long-legged white herons
Casually patrolling the water’s swampy edges.

They move slowly, as I do,
But always with clear intent.

“Solentiname Friend.”

Silvio likes me even though I am a woman.
I think it’s because we are both practical.
At the same time both of us have a love affair
With the natural world. He knows I am curious
And feeds me feasts with his eyes.
He touches my arm to catch my attention,
To show me birds, monkeys or trees
Rich with orange flower or drooping fruit.
Sometimes when he is steering the boat
And I am sitting sideways, near him,
Leaning against the gunwale,
He touches my arm, grins wildly,
And makes a thumbs-up gesture,
Isn’t life grand? No es grande la vida?
Then he teases me and makes jokes,
All in Spanish, of course,
I laugh though most of the time I don’t understand.

We both of us make things: I make buildings,
He carves elegant elongated birds from cedar,
And teaches his tropical world to me,
In a Spanish I can understand.