The Mind Wobbles

So many things to absorb, think about, deal with and put up with - it simply makes the mind wobble...

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

"Cultivo una Rosa Blanca" by José Martí

For today's Language Week entry, I'm posting a poem by José Martí , a Cuban patriot, poet and statesman. While it's definitely not my favorite poem in Spanish, or even my favorite Cuban poem, it is a poem every Cuban child and practically every Cuban-American child raised in Miami memorized at some point during their childhood. I have no retention at all for poetry, yet this poem is ingrained deep in my cerebral cortex.

My translation of the poem, of course, doesn't do justice to rhythm and meter, but hopefully conveys the spiriti of forgiveness and generosity of spirit.

"Cultivo Una Rosa Blanca" - José Martí

Cultivo una rosa blanca,

en julio como en enero,

para el amigo sincero

que me da su mano franca.

Y para el cruel que me arranca

el corazón con que vivo,

cardo ni oruga cultivo:

cultivo la rosa blanca.



I nurture a white rose

in July as in January,

for the true friend

who offers me his loyal hand.

And for the merciless one who wrenches out

the heart by which I live,

thistle nor thorn do I nurture:

for him, I nurture a white rose.

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Blogger purplepassion said...

I think your translation is dead on! and so timely for me. Yesterday I saw the movie "The Lost City" and it ends with Andy Garcia reciting part of "Guantanamera" (totally spelled that how it sounds) and "Cultivo una Rosa Blanca". It was so poignant. I thought the movie was beautiful and am going to make my boys sit and watch it because I thought it was a good representation of what happened.

12:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

finally someone translated this põem to English

3:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

im doin a book report on this man and i love this poem. my mom is cuban so it helps to learn about the history of my family's heritage.

8:13 PM  

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