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International Reflective Writing


Rubén Darío

The life of Rubén Darío (1867-1916), the greatest poet of Spanish America and one of the supreme technicians in the language, reads as a tragicomedy. He was born Félix Rubén García Sarmiento in the Nicaraguan town of Metapa in 1867. now renamed in his honour. His parents separated when he was two, and as a child prodigy, Darío was brought up by an aunt in León, where he started contributing to local newspapers. In 1881 he moved to Managua, fell in love with the unfaithful Rosario Murillo, was spirited away to El Salvador (1882), returned to Nicaragua (1883) and then went to Chile (1886), where he published the first edition of Azul (1888). He returned to Nicaragua and El Salvador, married Rafaela Contreras in 1890, and took to drink (and a forced marriage with Rosario) when Rafaela died in 1893. Thereafter, the pattern of his life was established: short-lived government positions in various Latin American administrations, a tangled love life, continual travel (many European countries and Morocco), incessant contributions to newspapers, many of which he founded, and increasing incapacity through drink. Miraculously, the gift largely survived. Prosas profanes y otras poemas appeared in 1896, Cantos de vida y esperanza in 1905, Poema del otono y otros poemas in 1910, and Canto a la Argentina y otros poemas in 1914. On a visit to Spain in 1899, Darío began a relationship with Francisca Sánchez, a simple country girl who bore him several children. But Rosario snatched him back, and Darío died of cirrhosis of the liver in his boyhood town of León, where he is buried in the cathedral.

To Roosevelt

The voice that would reach you, Hunter, must speak 
in Biblical tones, or in the poetry of Walt Whitman. 
You are primitive and modern, simple and complex; 
you are one part George Washington and one part Nimrod. 
You are the United States, 
future invader of our naive America 
with its Indian blood, an America 
that still prays to Christ and still speaks Spanish. 

You are strong, proud model of your race; 
you are cultured and able; you oppose Tolstoy. 
You are an Alexander-Nebuchadnezzar, 
breaking horses and murdering tigers. 
(You are a Professor of Energy, 
as current lunatics say). 

You think that life is a fire, 
that progress is an irruption, 
that the future is wherever 
your bullet strikes. 

The United States is grand and powerful. 
Whenever it trembles, a profound shudder 
runs down the enormous backbone of the Andes. 
If it shouts, the sound is like the roar of a lion. 
And Hugo said to Grant: "The stars are yours." 
(The dawning sun of the Argentine barely shines; 
the star of Chile is rising..) A wealthy country, 
joining the cult of Mammon to the cult of Hercules; 
while Liberty, lighting the path 
to easy conquest, raises her torch in New York. 

But our own America, which has had poets 
since the ancient times of Nezahualcóyolt; 
which preserved the footprint of great Bacchus, 
and learned the Panic alphabet once, 
and consulted the stars; which also knew Atlantic 
(whose name comes ringing down to us in Plato) 
and has lived, since the earliest moments of its life, 
in light, in fire, in fragrance, and in love-- 
the America of Moctezuma and Atahualpa, 
the aromatic America of Columbus, 
Catholic America, Spanish America, 
the America where noble Cuauthémoc said: 
"I am not in a bed of roses"--our America, 
trembling with hurricanes, trembling with Love: 
O men with Saxon eyes and barbarous souls, 
our America lives. And dreams. And loves. 
And it is the daughter of the Sun. Be careful. 
Long live Spanish America! 
A thousand cubs of the Spanish lion are roaming free. 
Roosevelt, you must become, by God's own will, 
the deadly Rifleman and the dreadful Hunter 
before you can clutch us in your iron claws. 

And though you have everything, you are lacking one thing: 

Antonio Machado*

Wrapped in silence, secret-shy,
Once and again he wandered by.
From such depth his glances came
One could hardly see them flame.
When he spoke his accent would express
Timidity and haughtiness,
And nearly always one could see
His thoughts shining radiantly.
His faith was rooted on firm ground;
He used to be luminous and profound.
In the same flock shepherded
Lambs and lions he might have led;
He could have driven rambling gales,
Or brought honeycombs of tales.
The wonders of love and life and pleasure
Were his to sing in a magic measure,-
In verses whose meaning was hidden deep,
Whose secret lay in his soul's keep.
He mounted a rare wing's hose one day
I pray to my Gods for Antonio:
May they keep him from all woe.


Oración por Antonio Machado

Misterioso y silencioso
iba una y otra vez.
Su mirada era tan profunda
que apenas se podía ver.
Cuando hablaba tenía un dejo
de timidez y de altivez,
y la luz de sus pensamientos
casi siempre se veía arder.
Era luminoso y profundo
como hombre de buena fe.
Fuera pastor de mil leones
y de corderos a la vez.
Conduciría tempestades
o traería un panal de miel.
Las maravillas de la vida
y del amor y del placer
cantaba en versos profundo
cuyo secreto era de él.
Montado en un raro Pegaso 
un día al imposible fué.
Ruego por Antonio a mis dioses.
Ellos le salven siempre. Amén.

* Leading Spanish poet, and considered to be a leading poet of the Generation of '98 (1898).


Eugenio Alberto Cano Correa: My Memories of the Nicaraguan Revolution


The poem "My Memories of the Nicaraguan Revolution" by Eugenio Alberto Cano Correa is one of the works that is from the book, A Foot in the Mouth by Paul B. Janeczko and Chris Raschka. 


My Memories of the Nicaraguan Revolution

A tear streaming from my eye,

Running through a field seeking refuge,

A road lined with bullet shells instead of pebbles,

An empty wheelbarrow stained with red,

A pillar of smoke uniting sky and ground,

A slogan cried from the background,

A hug of protection from my mamá.


Mis recuerdos de la revolucion nicaraguense

Una lágrima fluyendo de mi ojo,

Corriendo a camp traviesa buscando refugio,

Un camion marcado por balas servidas en vez de guijarros,

Una carretilla vacia manchada de rojo,

Un pilar de humo uniendo cielo y tierra,

Una consigna gritada desde el fondo

Un abrazo protector de mi mamá.



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