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In the Name of Violeta Parra

Violeta Parra is rightly considered the godmother of La Nueva Canción Chilena. As I write in "Venceremos" she tragically committed suicide on February 5, 1967 in the quarters of her own peña. Despite the self-inflicted gunshot wound, her songs live on and the story of Violeta Parra graced the silver screen with Andres Wood's 2011 film, Violeta se fue a los cielos. I reviewed it last year. Here I bring you a humble attempt at poetry...

In your name,
I wish I possessed
The power in my slender hands
To heal the wounds
Of your conflicted soul
I wish I could have healed
The intense fragments of your skull

In your name,
I wish I could have,
At the very least,
Cleansed the sorrowful stains of blood
From your beloved guitar

In your name,
I wished I could have
Preserved forever in your spirit
The sentiment that lead you to sing
With reflective sincerity,
"Gracias a la Vida"

But I can do no such things
I am powerless
Against a history
That already has been written

All that I can do
Is sing your songs
And praises
In your name
Forever

All I can do is remember
The pain filled rasp
Of your truth telling voice
Your songs, eternal
Like the stones of Machu Picchu
The center of justice in your heart
Where poems of conscious bled forth

All I can do is remember now
As you reside
"Up above the burning sun"
In the blue vastness of the sky

Always,
I remember
Always,
I sing,
Always, in the name of Violeta,
Violeta Parra

Gabriel San Roman is the author of “Venceremos”: Víctor Jara and the New Chilean Song Movement



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