To Fidel Castro:
Fidel, Fidel, the people thank you
for your words in action and deeds that sing,
which is why I brought you from far off
a cup of my country’s wine:
it is the blood of a subterranean people
reaching from the darkness to your throat,
miners who have lived for centuries
extracting fire from the frozen earth.
They go down under the ocean for coal
and when they emerge they’re like ghosts-
they have adapted to eternal night,
the workday light was robbed from them.
Nevertheless here is this cup full of
so much suffering and so much distance:
the happiness of men imprisoned clinging to darkness and hope
who from deep in the mines know
when spring and its fragrances arrive
because they know man is struggling
to attain the most ample clarity.
And Cuba is seen by the miners in the far south,
solitary sons of the pampa,
shepherds of the cold in Patagonia,
fathers of tin and silver,
those who marry the cordillera,
extract copper from Chuquicamata,
anonymous men hunkered in buses
among populations of pure nostalgia,
women in the fields, in the workshops,
children who cried all through their childhood—
here, this is the cup, take it, Fidel.
It is full of so much hope
that upon drinking from it you will know
your victory is like my country’s aged wine
grown not by one man but by many men,
not from one grape but from many vines,
not one drop but many rivers,
not one captain but many battles.
They all support you because you embody
our dignity in the long struggle,
and if Cuba were to fall we would all fall,
and we would all come to lift her up,
and if Cuba flourishes with all her flowers,
she will flourish with our own nectar.
And if they dare lay a finger on Cuba’s
forehead, liberated by your own hands,
they will encounter the fists of the people,
we will raise our buried weapons,
and our blood and our pride will come
to the defense of our beloved Cuba.
— Pablo Neruda