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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Problems of Underdevelopment by Nicolas Guillen

Nicolás Guillén (1902-1989)
Problems Of Underdevelopment

Monsieur Dupont calls you uncultured
because you cannot say who was
Victor Hugo’s favorite grandson.

Herr Müller has started to scream
because you do not know (exactly)
the day that Bismarck died.
Mr. Smith,
and Englishman or Yankee, I cannot tell, 
exploded when you write Shell.  
(It seems that you eliminate an l
 and, what is more, pronounce it chel.)

Who is that?
When your turn comes,
tell them to say Huancavelica,
and where the Aconcagua’s found,
and who was Sucre,
and in what spot on the planet
Martí died.

(And Please: have them always speak to you in Spanish.)

   Nicolás Guillén