La Niña de Guatemala

The girl from Guatemala

Quiero, a la sombra de un ala,
contar este cuento en flor:
La niña de Guatemala,
la que se murió de amor.

Eran de lirio los ramos,
y las orlas de reseda
y de jazmín; la enterramos
en una caja de seda.

…Ella dio al desmemoriado
una almohadilla de olor;
él volvió, volvió casado;
ella se murió de amor.

Iban cargándola en andas
obispos y embajadores;
detrás iba el pueblo en tandas,
todo cargado de flores.

…Ella, por volverlo a ver,
salió a verlo al mirador:
él volvió con su mujer;
ella se murió de amor.

Como de bronce candente
al beso de despedida
era su frente ¡la frente
que más he amado en mi vida!

…Se entró de tarde en el río,
la sacó muerta el doctor;
dicen que murió de frío:
yo sé que murió de amor.

Allí, en la bóveda helada,
la pusieron en dos bancos;
besé su mano afilada,
besé sus zapatos blancos.

Callado, al obscurecer,
me llamó el enterrador.
¡Nunca más he vuelto a ver
a la que murió de amor!

At a wing’s shade,
I want to tell this story, like a flower:
The girl from Guatemala,
the girl that died of love.

The flowers were lilies,
and mignonette ornaments
and jasmine; we buried her
in a silk casket.

…She gave to the forgetful
a perfumed sachet:
he came back, came back married;
she died of love.

She was carried in a procession
by bishops and ambassadors;
behind were the town’s people in groups
they were all carrying flowers.

…She, wanted to see him again,
she stepped out to the balcony:
he came back with his wife;
she died of love.

Like ardent bronze,
when he kissed her goodbye,
her forehead was ¡the forehead
that I have loved the most in my life!

…She went into the river at dusk,
she was dead when the doctor pulled her out:
some say she died of coldness:
but I know she died of love.

There, in the chilling crypt,
they set her on two benches:
I kissed her slender hand,
I kissed her white shoes.

Silently, when it grew dark,
the undertaker called me:
¡I have never again seen
the girl who died of love!

José Martí
(1853-1895)