The last poem by Puerto Rican poet Julia de Burgos, and the first she wrote in English. Welfare Island is said to refer to the insane-asylum-isle of that name in New York, but I think it also has the meaning of the fate of Puerto Rico as a modernized, or post-modern colony of the United States.

pewterbreath

It has to come from here,
right this instance,
my cry into the world.

The past is only a shadow emerging from
nowhere.

Life was somewhere forgotten
and sought refuge in depths of tears
and sorrows;
over this vast empire of solitude and darkness.
Where is the voice of freedom,
freedom to laugh,
to move
without the heavy phantom of despair?
Where is the form of beauty
unshaken in its veil, simple and pure?
Where is the warmth of heaven
pouring its dreams of love in broken
spirits?

It has to be from here,
right this instance,
my cry into the world.
My cry that is no more mine,
but hers and his forever,
the comrades of my silence,
the phantoms of my grave.

It has to be from here,
forgotten but unshaken,
among comrades of silence
deep into Welfare Island
my farewell to the world.

Little you probably know…

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August 27, 2015 · 2:39 pm

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