Che's Poetry: I Don't Know Why You Think by Nicolás Guillén

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Today's poem is No Sé Por Qué Piensas Tú by Nicolás Guillén, a Cuban poet who studied law at the University of Havana before working as a typographer and journalist. He was also a political activist, which perhaps is a reason why Guevara included his poems in his notebook.

When I'm translating a poem from Che Guevara's collection (El Cuaderno verde), it always interests me to think about why he chose it.

This one makes more sense than others: it covers unity, alienation, and equality. I think that it would console me too in the Bolivian jungle.


I Don't Know Why You Think

I don't know why you think,
soldier, that I hate you,
if we are the same thing,
me,
you.

You are poor, so am I;
I'm from below, so are you;
where have you got it from,
soldier, that I hate you?

It hurts me that sometimes
you forget who I am;
heck, if I am you,
it's the same that you are me.

But not for that reason I
have to dislike you;
if we are the same thing,
me,
you,
I don't know why you think,
soldier, that I hate you.

Soon we'll see ourselves, me and you,
together on the same street,
shoulder to shoulder, you and I,
with hate from neither me nor you.
but knowing you and me,
where we go, you and I...
I don't know why you think,
solider, that I hate you!

 
 

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