Poetry in English

ELEGY TO THE NEW WORLD

You ask me, my companion

Where had I been during my long silence

I was in the sweetness of the sugarcane and in the bitterness of the sugar cane plantation

Where the leaves trembled of fear of mankind

The sugar cane plantation whispered in violent screaming

The sweet blood that has sweetened its mouth

The stern hands that dried its physiognomy

The sugar cane plantation that died of malnourishment before the age of 30

The voices without stars that rocked it to the distance strange languages

Oh, green plantation! What color is the wine in my blood?

My blood is scared of death of the whipping of the night

My blood is scared of me

You ask me, my companion

Where had I been during my long silence

I was in the merchant ships

That traded my destiny to the Americas

Drank the legends of my people just like a barrel of rotten rum

Traded every star in the sky and in the infinite sea

Each bird each feather in my cockade

And drew maps with my blood

And erected totems over my tribe

And set fire in the sacred fields of my people

And their lances split my veins into different continents

You ask me, my companion

Where had I been during my long silence

I was by the foam of the seas never sailed

From where gun powder bayonet mirror tuberculosis and syphilis came

From where the sword and the elm came

- The clouds will never forget that!

In the black Atlantic

In the calaboose of old pirate ships

In the calaboose of human degradation

In the prisons of Sierra Leona – which still ache somewhere in my body

In Angola

In Guinea Bissau

In Senegal

In Benin

I was in Guatemala

And in the Yucatan Province

And in the Cartagena de las Indias Province

And in the Great Kingdom and Great Province of Peru

And in the New Kingdom of Granada

And in the Islands of Trinidad

And in the Kingdom of the Aztecs

Where swords of gold and mud split my naked soul

Where the hunting dogs of the barons of the Indies were fed with arms and legs of native children

You ask me, my companion

Where had I been and only now I can break my silence:

I was with myself.