Zaida Letty Castillo

Zaida Letty Castillo de Saavedra

Zaida Letty Castillo de Saavedra (Guayaquil, February 5, 1890 – Guayaquil, July 30, 1977) was an Ecuadorian poet. She hailed from a family of journalists and writers. She wrote under the pseudonym Djenana, which she adopted from a character in “Les Désenchantées,” a French novel by Pierre Loti. She published her works in “El Telegrafo Literario,” a literary supplement of the newspaper El Telégrafo, owned by her family. She also directed the supplement “La mujer y el Arte” of the Peruvian newspaper “El Comercio,” as well as other publications in Ecuador and Venezuela. She was a founder of the Guayas branch of the House of Ecuadorian Culture and her poetry appears in several anthologies of Latin American poetry.


Zaida Letty Castillo’s father José Abel Castillo founded the daily newspaper EL TELÉGRAFO in 1884. It is one of the most widely read newspapers in Ecuador today. Her son José Guerra Castillo was a journalist, poet, playwright, university professor and dancer.


Translated by Richard Gabela on 4/8/2024

No. I don't want to be buried in a coffin—
me, who loved the light, the sun, the air!
I don't want shadows!
I don't want to descend
beneath the earth...

I don't want to be interred!
Let me lie far away
under the tree canopy,
upon the grass,
beside the flowers
facing the sky!

I don’t want a heavy slab to cover me,
to imprison my body under stone!
I want the stars to keep vigil over me,
for the fireflies to light up their lanterns
and for the wind to mourn me in its howl...

Leave me free under the skies,
let me not be confined,
let me not be encased,
let me not be interred
beneath the earth!

If they bury me,
from among the shadows,
through a crevice
I shall escape...
Like a meteor.
Like a flash.
Like a blast of wind...


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...

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