José Martí (1853-1895) Two Homelands

Listen

I have two homelands: Cuba and the night.

Or are they one and the same? No sooner

does his majesty, the sun, retire, than Cuba, with long veils,

and a carnation in hand, silent,

like a sad widow, appears before me.

I know that bleeding carnation

Trembling in her hand! It’s empty,

my chest is destroyed and empty,

where the heart once was. It’s time

to begin dying. The night is right

to say good-bye. The light is bothersome

and the word is human. The universe

speaks better than man.

Like a flag

inviting us to battle, the candle’s

red flame flickers. I open the windows

overwhelmed inside. Mute, plucking

the carnation’s leaves, like a cloud

darkening the sky, Cuba, a widow, passes by . . .

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