Following is an excerpt of ¨There is a country in the world poem¨ (original title: Hay un Paìs en el Mundo) by Dominican Poet Pedro Mir. The poem transitions from describing the beautiful land to lamenting its problems, using imagery that is dark and sad and powerful. It is clear to a reader knowledgeable of Dominican history that this poem was written in the Trujillo Era and that the author would most likely have gotten into trouble for writing it. This is what makes it even more interesting to me. That, having forgotten Pedro Mir’s biography from elementary and high school, I can still recognize that country he writes about, and even the time which provoked his words.

There is a country in the world
situated right in the sun’s path.
A native of the night.
Situated in an improbable archipelago
of sugar and alcohol.
Simply light,
like a bat’s wing leaning on the breeze.
Simply bright,
like the trace of a kiss on an elderly maiden
or daylight on the roof tiles.
Simply fruitful. Fluvial. And material. And yet
simply torrid, abused and kicked
like a young girl’s hips.
Simply sad and oppressed.
Sincerely wild and uninhabited.
In truth.
With three million
life’s sum total
and all the while
four cardinal cordilleras
and an immense bay and another immense bay,
three peninsulas with adjacent isles
and the wonder of vertical rivers
and earth beneath the trees and earth
beneath the rivers and at the edge of the forest
and at the foot of the hill and behind the horizon
and earth from the cock’s crow
and earth beneath the galloping horses
and earth over the day, under the map, around
and underneath all the footprints and in the midst of love…

Click here for the full original version in Spanish.