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(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973 / Parral / Chile)

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Castro Alves From Brazil

Castro Alves from Brazil, for whom did you sing?
Did you sing for the flower? For the water
whose beauty whispered words to the stones?
Did you sing to the eyes, to the torn profile
of the woman you once loved? For the spring?

Yes, but those petals were not dewed,
those black waters had no words,
those eyes were those who saw death,
still burning the tortures behind love,
Spring was splashed with blood.

I sang for the slaves, aboard the ships
as a dark branch of wrath.
They travelled, and bled from the ships
leaving us the weight of a stolen blood.

I sang in those days against the inferno,
against the sharp languages of greed,
against the gold drenched in the torment,
against the hand that rose the whip,
against the maestros of darkness.

Each rose had one dead man in their roots.
The light, the night, the sky were covered in tears,
the eyes separated from wounded hands
and it was my voice the only one to fill the silence.

I wanted that from the man we could be rescued,
I believed that the route passed through the man,
and from there destiny would be made.
I sang for those who had no voice.
My voice hit doors that until then were closed
so that, fighting, Freedom could be let in.

Castro Alves from Brazil, now that your pure book
is reborn to a free land,
let me, poet of our America,
to crown your head with the laurels of the people.
Your voice joined the eternal and loud voice of the men.
You sang well. You sang how it must be sung.

Submitted: Monday, March 22, 2010


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Comments about this poem (Canto XII from The Heights of Macchu Picchu by Pablo Neruda )

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  • Alexander Opicho (12/3/2013 8:12:00 AM)

    very sweet to the ears, especially; Castro Alves from Brazil, now that your pure book is reborn to a free land,
    let me, poet of our America, to crown your head with the laurels of the people. Your voice joined the eternal and loud voice of the men. You sang well. You sang how it must be sung.
    Pablo Neruda

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