Monday, January 28, 2013

Happy Birthday, José

José Martí
José Martí was born today in Havana, Cuba, in 1853. He was exiled to ASpain 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.

Yo que vivo, aunque me he muerto... (Verso XXVI)

Yo que vivo, aunque me he muerto,
Soy un gran descubridor,
Porque anoche he descubierto
La medicina de amor.

Cuando al peso de la cruz
El hombre morir resuelve,
Sale a hacer bien, lo hace, y vuelve
Como de un baño de luz.

translation by Manuel A. Tellechea:

I who live though I have died,
Claim a great discovery,
For last night I verified
Love is the best remedy.

When weighed by the cross, a man
Resolves to die for the right;
He does all the good he can,
And returns bathed in the light.

(More of his poems in Spanish and in English here)

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