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.
I, who cherished the light, the sun, the air!
I reject the shadows!
I don't want to be lowered
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 weight!
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 swift gust 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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