Saturday, June 25, 2011

"Guantanamera" - The Sandpipers


The better known "official" lyrics are based on the first stanza of the first poem of the collection "Versos Sencillos" ("Simple Verses") by Cuban poet and independence hero José Martí, as adapted by Julián Orbón. Given Martí's significance to the Cuban people, the use of his poem in the song virtually elevated it to unofficial anthem status in the country.

This is the poem that ultimately became the song "Guantanamera."

 Simple Verses-1891
 Poetry José Martí

I am a sincere man   
From where the palm tree grows;  
And before I die
I want to loose my verses from my heart.  

I come from everywhere,  
And I go everywhere:  
I am art among the arts;
In the hills, I am a hill.

I know the strange names of
The grasses and the flowers,
And deadly deceits
Of sublime grief.  

I have seen in the dark night  
Rain over my head
The rays of pure light  
Of divine beauty.

I saw wings on the shoulders
Born of beautiful women,
And butterflies come flying
From the rubbish.

I have seen a man live  
With a dagger in His side,  
Without ever Saying the name
Of those who killed him.

Quick as a reflection,
Twice I saw the soul, twice:  
When the poor old man died,  
When she bade me farewell.  

I shivered once - on the fence, 
At the entrance to the vineyard-  
When the barbarous bee  
My girl stung on the forehead.

I was happy once in a way 
That I've never ever been since:  
When the sentence of my death  
was read by the warden weeping.

I hear a sigh through
Land and the sea  
And it is a breeze - it
Is that my child will wake up.

If They Say: from the jeweler,
Take the best jewel,  
I take a sincere friend  
And put love aside.

I have seen the wounded eagle  
Flying the blue serene,
And dying in his lair  
The snake's venom.

I know that when the world  
cedes pale rest,
On the deep silence
Whispers the gentle stream.

I have put my daring hand
Stiff with horror and joy,

Extinguished upon the star
That fell to my door

I hide in my breast
Wild wounds that hurt me.
The son of an enslaved people
Live by it, silent and die.

All is beautiful and constant,
All is music and reason,
And all, like the diamond,
Before it is light is coal.

I know that the fool is buried
With great luxury and great weeping,
And that there Is no fruit on earth
like that of the burial ground.

I am silent, I understand,
And I doff the pomp of the rhymer;
I hang from a withered tree
My doctor's hood.

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