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Thu Aug 7, 2014, 05:09 PM

Yoani Sanchez: my mother and the Onions

Quoted from 14 y medio, written by the Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez.

At times, when I talk to my mamá, I explain the need for Cuba to open itself up to democracy, to respect human rights and to establish freedom. She listens to me in silence for a while. After some minutes, she changes the conversation and tells me about the eggs that haven’t come, the bureaucrat who mistreated her, or the water leak at the corner of her house. Then, I ask her how much onions cost. My mother has to pay out three days worth of her pension to buy a pound of onions. I no longer have to say anything, she just concludes, “This country has to change.”


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Reply Yoani Sanchez: my mother and the Onions (Original post)
Socialistlemur Aug 2014 OP
Xipe Totec Aug 2014 #1

Response to Socialistlemur (Original post)

Thu Aug 7, 2014, 06:02 PM

1. Miguel Hernandez- Nanas de la cebolla / J.M. Serrat

By Miguel Hernandez

Perhaps Hernández's best known poem is "Nanas de cebolla" ("Onion Lullaby", a reply in verse to a letter from his wife in which she informed him that she was surviving on bread and onions. In the poem, the poet envisions his son breastfeeding on his mother's onion blood (sangre de cebolla), and uses the child's laughter as a counterpoint to the mother's desperation. In this as in other poems, the poet turns his wife's body into a mythic symbol of desperation and hope, of regenerative power desperately needed in a broken Spain.

An onion is frost
shut in and poor.
Frost of your days
and of my nights.
Hunger and onion,
black ice and frost
huge and round.

My son is lying now
in the cradle of hunger.
The blood of an onion
is what he lives on.
But it is your blood,
with sugar on it like frost,
onion and hunger.

A dark woman
turned into moonlight
pours herself down thread
by thread over your cradle.
My son, laugh,
because you can swallow the moon
when you want to.

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