Protest by Zaida Letty Castillo


No. I don’t want to be buried in a coffin.
I, who cherished the light, the sun, the air!
I reject the shadows!
I don’t want to be sunk
beneath the earth…

I don’t want to be buried!
Leave me far away
under the tree branches,
on the grass,
next to the flowers,
facing skyward!

I refuse to be buried under a heavy tombstone,
to have my body trapped under its slab!
I desire the stars to keep vigil over me,
for fireflies to turn their lights upon me,
and for the wind to mourn me with its howls…

Let me remain free under the sky,
do not confine me,
do not enclose me,
do not sink me
beneath the earth!

Should they bury me,
from the shadows,
through the smallest crack,
I will break free…
Like a meteor.
Like a streak of light.
Like a gust of wind…

Translator’s Note: I chose to translate Zaida Letty Castillo’s poem “Protesta” as it resonates deeply with its powerful rejection of traditional burial practices and its yearning for freedom even in death. The poem’s defiance against confinement beneath the earth and its plea to remain under the open sky evoke a sense of liberation and connection to nature. Castillo, an Ecuadorian poet born in 1890, was part of a family deeply rooted in journalism and literature. Writing under the pseudonym Djenana, she contributed to various literary publications and was a key figure in Ecuadorian poetry during the early to mid-20th century.

Original Spanish Version


No. ¡No quiero que me entierren en un cofre
a mí, que amé la luz, el sol, el aire!
¡No quiero sombras!
No quiero hundirme
bajo la tierra…

¡No quiero me sepulten!
¡Déjenme lejos
bajo las frondas,
sobre las hierbas,
junto a las flores
de cara al cielo!

¡No quiero que me cubran con pesada lápida
que aprisione mi cuerpo con su losa!
Yo quiero que me velen los luceros,
que enciendan sus fanales las luciérnagas
y que me llore el viento en su alarido…

Déjenme libre bajo los cielos,
que no me opriman
que no me cerquen,
¡que no me hundan
bajo la tierra!

Si me sepultan,
de entre las sombras,
por un resquicio
he de fugarme…
Como un meteoro.
Como un destello.
Como una ráfaga…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *