Poem of the Week

Only the RoadOur Poetry Month series continues today with a poem from a forthcoming collection of Cuban poetry edited and translated by Margaret Randall. Covering eight decades and featuring the work of over fifty poets from diverse backgrounds born between 1902 and 1981, Only the Road / Solo el Camino is the most complete bilingual anthology of Cuban poetry available to an English readership. The following poem is by Milena Rodríguez Gutiérrez, who was born in Havana in 1971. She currently lives in Granada, Spain. Hers is one of several poems in the collection focusing on islands.

Innocence among the Waves

Islands are children’s toys,
balls someone tosses
upon the waves.
Sometimes, in the middle of the game,
the islands deflate
and you must blow, blow
until you fall into the water.
Then, who knows
if the island or you are the toy,
if we float exhausted
or it’s the island that’s bored
with the game of blowing,
with having to pump us up again.

Inocencia entre las olas

Las islas son juguetes para niños,
pelotas que alguien lanza
en medio de las olas.
En pleno juego, a veces,
las islas se desinflan
y hay que soplar, soplar
hasta caer rendidos sobre el agua.
Entonces, no se sabe
si el juguete es la isla o uno mismo,
si aquí estamos tendidos por cansancio,
o acaso es que la isla ya se aburre
del juego de soplar,
de tener que volver a echarnos aire.

Copyright Duke University Press, 2016.

Only the Road/ Solo el Camino will be available in October 2016. If you are interested in reviewing the book or would like to consider it for your fall courses, you can view an advance copy on NetGalley.

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