Saturday, January 28, 2006

Saturday Lyric: Girl from Guantanamo

It's the birthday of Cuba's best-known poet, José Martí. He was an eloquent partisan of liberty, personal and national
Perhaps the enemies of liberty are such only because they judge it by its loud voice. If they knew its charms, the dignity that accompanies it, how much a free man feels like a king, the perpetual inner light that is produced by decorous self-awareness and realization, perhaps there would be no greater friends of freedom than those who are its worst enemies.
His best known work is the poem which formed the basis for the song "Guantanamera" ("The girl from Guantánamo"):
Yo soy un hombre sincero
De donde crecen las palmas
Y antes de morirme quiero
Echar mis versos del alma
Chorus: Guantanamera, guajira Guantanamera

Mi verso es de un verde claro
Y de un carmín encendido
Mi verso es un ciervo herido
Que busca en el monte amparo

Cultivo una rosa blanca
En julio como en enero
Para el amigo sincero
Que me da su mano franca

Con los pobres de la tierra
Quiero yo mi suerte echar
El arroyo de la sierra
Me complace más que el mar
...I am a truthful man
From where the palm trees grow
And before dying I want
To let out the verses of my soul
Chorus: Guantanamera, guajira Guantanamera

My verse is light green
And it is flaming red
My verse is a wounded stag
Who seeks refuge on the mountain

I grow a white rose
In July just as in January
For the honest friend
Who gives me his open hand

With the poor people of the earth
I want to share my luck
The stream of the mountains
Gives me more pleasure than the sea

I grew up with the Pete Seeger version of this, of course.

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