Beautiful Cuba! Your brilliant sky
Is covered by Night's opaque veil,
As my brow is by the pain enveloping it.
I am leaving! The diligent seamen
The sails have raised that soon will tear me
From my native land; and as they unfurl
The winds of the Torrid Zone wait on them.
Farewell, my happy country, beloved Eden!
Where'er the Fates in their fury shall cast me,
Your sweet name shall be like flattery in my ear.
Farewell! ... The swollen sails are rustling,
The anchor is raised ... the ship, convulsed,
Ploughs the waves, flying silently.
—Gertrudis Gomez de Avellaneda
Translated by Manuel A. Tellechea
I left Cuba exactly 40 years ago today. I can't think of a better way to acknowledge what I owe to my heritage than to quote this brilliant, Cuban-born poet that was so ahead of her times.