1. "La noche, entre más negra, avisa que vendrá el amanecer."
    — Carlos Serpa
  2. "Today I propose to found a party of dreams,
    and workshops where we repair the wings of hummingbirds.”

    Cuba’s most famous singer of the nueva trova, Silvio Rodríguez, performs Ala de Colibrí (Wing of a Hummingbird). The song comes off his 1996 album Domínguez, whose title is from his maternal last name and features a portrait of his mother on the cover.

    This is the most beautiful song you’ll hear all week, regardless of language. Recognized as being one of the country’s great post-Revolution poets as well as guitarists, here Silvio writes an ode to the forgotten and dispossessed, and to the aspects of life that are cast to the side.

    The lyrics are obviously better in Spanish, but I’m including my basic English translation for you all if you want to follow along. I hope you love it as much as I do!


    Hoy me propongo fundar un partido de sueños,
    talleres donde reparar alas de colibríes.
    Se admiten tarados, enfermos, gordos sin amor,
    tullidos, enanos, vampiros y días sin sol.

    Hoy quiero patrocinar el candor desahuciado,
    esa crítica masa de Dios que no es pos ni moderna.
    Se admiten proscritos, rabiosos, pueblos sin hogar,
    desaparecidos deudores del banco mundial.

    Por una calle descascarada
    por una mano bien apretada.

    Ala… ala… ala…

    Hoy voy a hacer asamblea de flores marchitas,
    de deshechos de fiesta infantil, de piñatas usadas,
    de sombras en pena, del reino de lo natural,
    que otorgan licencia a cualquier artefacto de amar.

    Por el levante, por el poniente,
    por el deseo, por la simiente.

    por tanta noche, por el sol diario,
    en compañía y en solitario.

    Ala de colibrí, liviana y pura.
    Ala de colibrí para la cura.


    Today I propose to found a party of dreams,
    and workshops where we repair the wings of hummingbirds.
    We will admit the defective, the sick, the loveless fat ones,
    the crippled, the runts, vampires and sunless days.

    Today I want to support hopeless innocence,
    that critical mass of God that is neither postmodern nor modern.
    We will admit the outlaws, the enraged, people without a home,
    the invisible debtors of the World Bank.

    Along a cracking street,
    with a tightly held hand.

    Wing… wing… wing…

    Today I want to form an assembly of wilted flowers,
    of the waste from a child’s party, of used piñatas,
    of painful shadows, of the kingdom of nature,
    which grants permission to any artifact of love.

    For the release, for the sunset,
    for the desire, for the seed.

    for the long night, for the daily sun,
    accompanied or alone.

    Hummingbird’s wing, light and pure.
    Hummingbird’s wing, to heal you.