History of a Canal

Poem. By Pablo Neruda. How the history of Panama has been impacted by geography and greed.
Themes: World History/Global Studies

Nov3Panama-400x398Poem by Pablo Neruda

Pablo Neruda (July 12, 1904 – September 23, 1973) portrait by Erik Ruin.

Pablo Neruda (July 12, 1904 | September 23, 1973) portrait by Erik Ruin. Click for more info.

Panama, your geography granted you

a gift that no other land was given:

two oceans pushed forward to meet you:

the cordillera tapered naturally:

instead of one ocean, it gave you the water

of the two sovereigns of the foam;

the Atlantic kisses you with lips

that habitually kiss the grapes

while the Pacific Ocean shakes

in your honor its cyclonic nature.

 

but men from other parts

brought to you their yoke

and spilled nothing but whiskey

since they mortgaged your waistline:

and everything follows as it was planned

by devils and their lies:

with their money they built the canal;

they dug the earth with your blood

and now dollars are sent to New York

leaving you the graves.

 

like Panamanian wind asks

like a child that has lost its mother

where is the flag of my country?

 

From “History of a Canal,” XXXIII by Pablo Neruda.