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Ernesto Cardenal (Jan 20, 1925 – March 1, 2020)

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His poetry is ‘so deeply engaged with the historical, political, and spiritual landscape of his life that biography and bibliography seem almost arbitrary distinctions. Priest, social activist, and the former Minister of Culture in Sandinista Nicaragua, Cardenal is the most urgent and eloquent voice in a country of poets and revolutionaries, a cultural icon whose life and writings have altered history.’

From Cantiga 2: The Word:

Each person is for another person.
I am not I rather you are I!
One is the I of a you
or one is nothing.

I am nothing more than you otherwise if not I am not!
I am yes. I am Yes to a you, to a you for me,
to a you for me.
People are dialogue, I say,
if not their words would touch nothing
like waves in the cosmos picked up by no radio,
like messages to uninhabited planets,
or a bellowing in the lunar void
or a telephone call to an empty house.

(A person alone does not exist.)
I tell you again, my love:
I am you and you are me.
I am: love.
[Translated from the Spanish by John Lyons]

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