Monday, August 28, 2006

Versos Sencillos

Tonight I watched a beautiful film, Andy Garcia's THE LOST CITY. It's a film Garcia himself called not a love letter, but more like a "tragic poem" to his home country. In it, was one of the most moving uses of poetry in a movie that I have ever come across. This is poetry from the Cuban poet, Jose Marti:

I am a sincere man
From where the palm trees grow
And before death takes me,
I want to let the poems soar from my soul.
I come from everywhere
And everywhere I go;
Art I am among the arts,
Among the mountains
Mountain I am
All is beautiful and loyal,
All is musical and right,
And all, like the diamond,
Is charcoal before being light.
With the poor of the world
I want to cast my fate;
A little brook in the mountain
Pleases me more than the sea.
I want, whenever I die,
Stateless, but with no master,
To have on my tombstone, a boquet of flowers . . .
. . . and my country's flag.
I cultivate a white rose
In July as in January
For the sincere friend
Who offers me his honest hand.
And for the cruel one who rips from me
My heart by which I live,
I cultivate neither thorns nor thistles;
I cultivate the white rose.

--Jose Marti
Translated into English from
"Versos Sencillos" (Simple Verses) from 1891.

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