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haikumania

We are pleased to be able to publish the following by Carlos Gutierrez Cruz provided and translated by Ty Hadman

Carlos Gutiérrez Cruz (1897-1930) was one of the earliest innovators of Mexican haiku along with his friend, the introductor of Hispanic haiku, José Juan Tablada. He has been described as a revolutionary poet, socialist poet, political poet, humanist poet, and haiku poet. Some of his poetry inspired the world renowned Mexican muralist and painter, Diego Rivera. Several of Cruz's first haiku were published in the Informador, a newspaper in Guadalajara, México, in 1919. A chapbook of 56 haiku, predominantly on animal themes under the title "Bestiario", was published the following year. Soon afterward, Cruz's poetry increasingly took on a political tone and his haiku turned in that direction as well. His first political haiku were published in a pamphlet that was distributed in 1923.

YOUR LIFE IS IN YOUR HANDS
Selections from
The Haiku of a Revolutionary
edited and translated from the Spanish by Ty Hadman

Field hands,
the earth gives 100 fold
and you receive less than 1%


Who has more right
to the fruits of your labor
than you?


If you work for 40 years,
you'll receive about $7,300
for your entire life's work


How much does the owner
of the hacienda charge you
for the rain when it rains?


How lovingly you treat the earth,
how magnificent the drops
of sweat you give it


Golden kernels of corn
the result of your labor of love
and you're the corncob


How confusing life is;
dogs like politicians
politicians like dogs


His chauffeur waiting in the limousine . . .
the triumphant politician busy
patronizing the workers


Damn it! Damn it! Damn it!
a worker forced the machine
that blew up in his face . . .


Because of the powerful rich,
the poor form a caste that has
no human rights on this earth


Bread,
for the rich a pleasure
for the poor an anxiety


To be born,
to work, to suffer,
and to die!


Oh submissive slaves,
if you must live like beasts
then look! the mountains . . .


Your life is in your hands,
do you want to be a prisoner,
have they chained you to the plow?


Peons, want some light
to go with your poverty?
Then light the torches!
Mexico - 1925
 
This page forms part of haikumania an international arts & literature project run by paul t conneally