Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Rigoberta Menchú -- My Suffering Country

Rigoberta Menchú is an indigenous/Mayan humans rights advocate from Guatemala who has won the Nobel Peace Prize. Here is a poem of hers that appeared in the January 1991 edition of Prism Magazine. Learn more about her here: Story, Foundation, Bio, Wikileaks.

“My Suffering Country”

I crossed the border, my love,
I don't know when I'll return,
perhaps in summer when Grandmother Moon and Father Sun
greet each other again one sparkling dawn.
While all the stars rejoice,
they will herald the first rains.
The pumpkin Victor planted the afternoon he was murdered by soldiers
will begin to sprout again.
The peach trees will bloom, and our fields will bloom. We will plant lots of corn,
corn for the children of all our land.
The bee swarms shall return
which so many massacres and so much terror drove away. Rugged hands shall again hold vat after vat to collect the honey.
I crossed the border drenched in sadness,
I feel great sorrow in this dark and rainy dawn,
which goes beyond my existence.
The raccoons cry.
The monkeys cry.
And the coyotes and the mocking birds are silent. The snails want to speak.
Mother Earth is in mourning,
stained with blood.
She cries day and night from so much grief.
She misses the rhythm of the mattocks and the machetes, the rhythm of the grinding stones.
Each morning she is anxious to hear
the laughter and songs of her glorious children.
I crossed the border with dignity.
My sack is filled with so many things from that rainy land. I carry undying memories of Patrocinio,
My sandals that were born with me,
The scent of spring, the scent of the moss, the caress of the cornfields,
and the proud scars of our childhood.
I carry my colorful guipil for the fiesta when I return. And yes, I carry my bones and my sack of corn, for come what may, this sack will return to where it came from.
I crossed the border, my love.
Tomorrow I shall return when my tortured mother weaves another guipil.
When my father burnt alive rises early once again to greet the sun from every corner of our little farm.
Then there will be rum for everyone, there will be tortillas and children's laughter
and joyful marimbas.
Fires will be lit at each farm and each river
to wash the maize flour at dawn.
We'll burn torches of pinewax to light the pathways, the gullies, the rocks and
the fields.

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