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Poem for the Special Issue of ABC
(Madrid, Spain September 2002)
Rebirth from the ashes with the inspiration of a photograph by
Corina Arranz, New York, one year after September 11, 2001

My God the world has changed, there are things now that didn't exist before, including strife among men. They have been careless; it's unbelievable: after so many years of building a civilization, there is hunger and degradation, still, throughout the world. And there is chaos. Where can I go when around me all I find is an emptiness that I fear to drown in? I am searching for places, dreaming of landscapes, tracing and retracing
countless roads, like a soul in prison, in the end I find ... nothing! There's a wall of steel in front of me, a mountain of silence that rings in my ears, and a riverbed, dry like all that surrounds me, dragging me in its current,
and I am afraid of drowning…

Even Nature has changed, the waters are agitated, the lakes, so peaceful once, have now become something odd, and the sea is inhospitable to the animals that live in it. People come together…United then, we shall hope:
what brought us to where we are now will also bring us to a better world. I hear the voice of a wise man saying: "Do not despair, don't look at the smoke in the air, don't listen to a whisper in the wind, look within yourself, and you will learn to love the cities. Each of them contains a multitude of souls, and each of them is different. Yours will meet others like yours."
I remember the solace of two arms joining together... they were there for a reason, each of them supporting the other: they are building the city and restoring the meaning of our civilization. Men and women walking together, laboring in their garden of roses.

Photo by Corina Arranz:
Carmela Valdés-Gallol was born in Havana on 8 December 1917. She came to the United States for the first time in the 1930s. In 1961 she went into exile and she has lived since 1968 in Montclair, New Jersey. She is included in the Anthology of Cuban Poetry published in Havana and culled by Juán Ramón Jimenéz,1936. Notable works include Prose Poems (1978).
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