They were brave men
They disobeyed orders at Santa Rita
and at Lagunas de Varona.
These servants come from the same stock.
They treat us as they might have treated
those who wanted to take the war
to the other end of the Island.
I go back to the concept of nation.
I try to remember what Hermann Hesse said:
The word nation limits us
if we don’t understand
there is only one nation:
I try to remember
if Hermann Hesse said
Universe or Mother Earth.
Translated by Margaret Randall
Originally published in World Literature Today 89, no. 5 (September 2015).
Israel Domínguez (b. 1973, Placetas, Villa Clara) is a poet and translator. His books of poetry include Hojas de Cal (2001), Collage: Mientras avanza mi carro de equipaje (2002), Sobre un fondo de arena (2004), Después de acompañar a William Jones (2006), and Viaje de regreso (2013).
Margaret Randall (b. 1936, New York) lived in Cuba from 1969 to 1980. In 1970 and 2011 she was a judge of the Casa de las Américas literary contest. Her books include To Change the World: My Years in Cuba (2009) and Haydée Santamaría, Cuban Revolutionary: She Led by Transgression, just out from Duke University Press.