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You wanted “to bring peace to the evening.”
You wanted “to have roses where there are thorns.”
You wanted “to turn your heart into a great star, serene and

But in the lush green of the countryside, you were able to plant your tender heart like a daisy, so that Platero [Juan Ramón’s famous character], would whisper his secrets to you in the warm Huelva twilight.

And darkened by exile, you hid in silence in the quiet of Havana’s shady streets, to listen deeply to the voices speaking to you from the limpid blue.

In the name of that star, of that lush green and shadows, I ask you to show me how to be like you were, Juan Ramón. Do not let me hate the hands that destroyed my star and pulled out the daisies from the pleasing lushness of my homeland. Help me to remember only those hands that cover my island at dawn with white foamy lace, and light the altar candles for me to forgive and only bestow my blessings.

You, who are now in that blue and speak with Him in your translucent voice, ask Him to keep away from my loved ones the weapons of vengeance and to give us the secret of love that rescues those in need of redemption.

Ask Him, Juan Ramón, for us not to enjoy full laughter while one of us is still sadly weeping.

Ask Him, Juan Ramón, for no one to believe he has built enough while one of us is still causing destruction.

And when up from our roots, the way all things grow, there only exist in us–like little odds and ends that a child saves into a pure crystal glass – serene stars like yours, fresh daisies like those that listened to Platero speak, and the fragrant shade of the Havana twilight, I will see again, lighting up your jet-black beard, that white smile of yours, while on the rim of my vase the stems full of thorns that so hurt you will all become roses, Juan Ramón, the way you wanted.

Carmela Valdés-Gallol de Rodríguez
Madrid 1966

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Autobiographical stories

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