Happy Birthday, José
José Martí was born today in Havana, Cuba, in 1853. He was exiled to Spain at 17, later moving to Mexico, Guatemala, and back to Cuba, from which he was again deported to Spain; he fled to France and then the US, living in New York and working for Cuban independence. He joined the war in 1895 and died shortly after the invasion.
Por Tus Ojos Encendidos... (Verso XIX)
Por tus ojos encendidos
Y lo mal puesto de un broche,
Pensé que estuviste anoche
Jugando a juegos prohibidos.
Te odié por vil y alevosa:
Te odié con odio de muerte:
Náusea me daba de verte
Tan villana y tan hermosa.
Y por la esquela que vi
Sin saber cómo ni cuándo,
Sé que estuviste llorando
Toda la noche por mí.
translation by Manuel A. Tellechea:
Because your eyes were two flames
And your brooch wasn't pinned right,
I thought you had spent the night
In playing forbidden games.
Because you were vile and devious
Such deadly hatred I bore you:
To see you was to abhor you
So lovely and yet so villainous.
Because a note came to light,
I know now where you had been,
And what you had done unseen —
Cried for me all the long night.
(More of his poems in Spanish and in English here)