Saturday, September 27, 2014

"La Patria"


Queriendo yo un dia
Saber qué es la Patria,
Me dijo un anciano
Que mucho la amaba:

«La Patria se siente;
No tienen palabras
Que claro la expliquen
Las lenguas humanas.

Allí, donde todas
Las cosas nos hablan
Con voz que hasta el fondo
Penetra del alma;

Allí, donde empieza
La breve jornada
Que al hombre en el mundo
Los cielos señalan;

Allí, donde el canto
Materno arrullaba
La cuna que el Ángel
Veló de la guarda;

Allí, donde en tierra
Bendita y sagrada
De abuelos y padres
Los restos descansan;

Allí, donde eleva
Su techo la casa
De nuestros mayores...
Allí está la Patria.

II

El valle profundo,
La ruda montaña
Que vieron alegre
Correr nuestra infancia;

Las viejas ruïnas
De tumbas y de aras
Que mantos hoy visten
De hiedra y de zarza;

El árbol que frutos
Y sombra nos daba
Al son armonioso
Del ave y del aura;

Recuerdos, amores,
Tristeza, esperanzas,
Que fuentes han sido
De gozos y lágrimas;

La imágen del templo,
La roca y la playa
Que ni años ni ausencias
Del ánimo arrancan;

La voz conocida,
La jóven que pasa,
La flor que has regado,
Y el campo que labras;

Ya en dulce concierto,
Ya en notas aisladas,
Oirás que te dicen:
Aquí está la Patria.

III

El suelo que pisas
Y ostenta las galas
Del arte y la industria
De toda tu raza,

No es obra de un dia
Que el viento quebranta;
Labor es de siglos
De penas y hazañas.

En él tuvo orígen
La fe que te inflama;
En él tus afectos
Más nobles se arraigan:

En él han escrito
Arados y espadas,
Pinceles y plumas,
Buriles y hazañas,

Anales sombríos,
Historias que encantan
Y en rasgos eternos
Tu pueblo retratan.

Y tanto a su vida
La tuya se enlaza,
Cual se une en un árbol
Al tronco la rama.

Por eso presente
O en zonas lejanas,
Doquiera contigo
Va siempre la Patria.

IV

No importa que al hombre,
Su tierra sea ingrata,
Que el hambre la aflija,
Que pestes la invadan;

Que viles verdugos
La postren esclava,
Rompiendo las leyes
Más justas y santas;

Que noches eternas
Las brumas le traigan,
Y nunca los astros
Su luz deseada;

Pregunta al proscrito,
Pregunta al que vaga
Por ella sin techo,
Sin paz y sin calma;

¡Pregunta si pueden
Jamas olvidarla,
Si en sueño y vigilia
Por ella no claman!

No existe, a sus ojos,
Más bella morada,
Ni en campo ni en cielo
Ninguna le iguala.

Quizá unidos todos
Se digan mañana:
¡Mi Dios es el tuyo,
Mi Patria, tu Patria!»

Ventura Ruiz Aguilera (1820-1881)


There are poems that rob us of our voice and even of the air we breathe. We think that if we can recite such a poem through once, however haltingly and imperfectly, the next time it will be easier. But it isn't. The knot in our throats is not loosened by exercising our vocal chords. The emotion it provokes cannot be wrung out of it. We are as susceptible to its power at the last reading as we were at the first. It moves us when we will not be moved. We don't master it; it is master of us. This is such a poem. The greatest poets, like the greatest opera singers, can reach the highest notes at will. The accomplishment of such a feat by one whose range is more limited is astonishing because it is unexpected and shines all the more distinctively because it shines alone. Martí is the author of many great poems; Ventura Ruiz Aguilera of just one. The two poets were contemporaries, though Ruiz Aguilera's literary career ended at exactly the time that Martí's was beginning. He was immensely popular as a poet in his day, which Martí never was. In his "Modern Spanish Poets," published in English in New York's The Sun, in 1880, Martí writes almost as an afterthought "Then there is Ruiz Aguilera, a sort of Berénger" (the renowned French songwriter). This judgment has since been echoed by all critics. If Ruiz Aguilera had written nothing but "La Patria," he might today be known as a greater poet. But perhaps all the ephemeral poems that preceded it were an apprenticeship which had to be served in order for him to produce this one glorious poem, which we are quite sure Martí never read or else he would have been far more fulsome in his praise of its author. Ruiz Aguilera was a physician, archaeologist and museum director; and in this one poem, a great poet.

2 comments:

Vana said...

Que belleza!

There you go, you made me cry! Ah La Patria, it's inside of you, in your deepest thoughts, in the depth of your soul, you think you have risen above those feelings, then one day out of the blue something moves you, something brings that knot to the throat, that sinking feeling, a heartwrenching poem as the one you shared with us, and the tears flow.

Thank you my friend, you always manage to move me

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Vana:

When it is a constant presence in our lives, it is possible to take our country for granted. But when it is taken from us, never. It remains forever like a phantom limb which cannot be seen but can be felt. This poem touches that severed nerve and a twinge of pain surges through our bodies. It reminds us that there is a pall overhanging our happiness, and though we are wise not to live under it, we are powerless to dispel it. Only the restoration of freedom to our country can do that.