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Political prisoners

Who will sound the trumpets that tear down the walls?

Gioconda Belli

1 de septiembre 2022


The days go by.

Twenty-four hours, repeated.

Do the prisoners have a watch?

Have they allowed them to retain on their wrists

some record of the time?

Or are they living, perhaps, in a night with no day,

a day with no night?

I think of the privilege of my window,

of my telephone’s alarm clock.

the messages that tell me of appointments

and obligations.

I can’t imagine time transformed

into a dark cosmos

Does hunger mark the hour,

or is it now so rampant

that it no longer helps to track the time?

An imprisoned criminal

thinks of their crime;

do those imprisoned for loving

curse their love?

I feel the stone of injustice

like a weight on my chest.

Sometimes it hurts me to breathe,

me, the one who is free.


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When I’m alone

a book keeps me company

as well as a crowd

but they have only the company

of their memories.

Twenty-four hours

with their childhoods,

the faces of their children,

of their husband or wife,

the muffled sounds of what was once

their daily lives.

rain falling on the garden,

the barking of their dogs.

Who will sound the trumpets

That tear down the walls?

Who will shatter the glass panes

of silence?

We must blow winds

that carry screams.

Steal the keys.

Bend the bars.

Cross over the dark impatience,

the prison of fear.


This article was originally published in Spanish in Confidencial and translated by Havana Times


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Gioconda Belli

Gioconda Belli

Poeta y novelista nicaragüense. Ha publicado quince libros de poemas, ocho novelas, dos libros de ensayos, una memoria, y cuatro cuentos para niños. Su primera novela “La mujer habitada” (1988) ha sido traducida a más de catorce idiomas. Ganadora del Premio La Otra Orilla, 2010; Biblioteca Breve, de Seix Barral (España, 2008); Premio Casa de las Américas, en Cuba; Premio Internacional de Poesía Generación del ‘27, en España y Premio Anna Seghers de la Academia de Artes, de Alemania; Premio de Bellas Artes de Francia, 2014. En 2023 obtuvo el premio Reina Sofía de Poesía Iberoamericana, el más prestigioso para la poesía en español. Por sus posiciones críticas al Gobierno de Daniel Ortega y Rosario Murillo, fue despatriada y confiscada. Está exiliada en Madrid.