Monseñor Oscar Romero: Tribute Poem

Archbishop Oscar Romero. Alex Bowie/Getty Images

Archbishop Oscar Romero at home in San Salvador, 11/20/1979.  Photo by Alex Bowie/Getty Images.

On the occasion of the beatification of Salvadoran Archbishop Óscar Romero on May 23, 2015, we share “I Am the Land,” a tribute poem by our colleague (and former Teaching for Change board member) E. Ethelbert Miller. We also encourage educators to teach about Romero and many other unsung heroes in Central America with these resources designed to Put Central America on the Map in Schools.

I Am the Land: A Poem in Memory of Oscar Romero*
(Read Spanish Translation)

I am the land.
I am the grass growing.
I am the trees.
I am the wind, the voice calling.
I am the poor.
I am the hungry.

The doors of the church are open
as wide as the heart of a man.
In times of trouble
here is a rock, here is a hand.

God knows the meaning of our prayers.
I have asked our government to listen.
God is not dead
and I will never die.

I am the land.
I am the grass growing.
I am the trees.
I am the wind, the voice calling.
I am the poor.
I am the hungry.

He who is resurrected is revolutionary.
He who is resurrected believes in peace.
This is the meaning of light.
This is the meaning of love.

The souls of my people are the pages of history.
The people of El Salvador are the people of the world.

I am Oscar Romero, a humble servant.
I am the land.
I am all the people who have no land.
I am the grass growing.
I am all the children who have been murdered.
I am the trees.
I am the priests, the nuns, the believers.
I am the wind, the voice calling.
I am the poets who will sing forever.
I am the poor.
I am the dreamer whose dreams overflow with hope.
I am the hungry.
I am the people.
I am Oscar Romero.

EMNewImage1_SM—E. Ethelbert Miller, literary activist (bio)

 

 

Background

Archbishop Romero was known as the “voice of the voiceless,” an advocate for the poor and leading critic of the U.S.-backed Salvadoran military government. In February of 1980, Romero wrote to President Jimmy Carter,

The contribution of your government instead of promoting greater justice and peace in El Salvador will without doubt sharpen the injustice and repression against the organizations of the people which repeatedly have been struggling to gain respect for their fundamental human rights.

On March 23, in his homily he said to the soldiers,

In the name of God, in the name of this suffering people whose cries rise to heaven more loudly each day, I implore you, I beg you, I order you in the name of God: stop the repression!

Archbishop Romero remembered in mural.

Part of a mural created in 2005 by Salvadoran artist Julio Reyes in the Monument to Memory and Truth.

Romero was killed the next day, on March 24, 1980, by members of a U.S.-backed death squad while he was delivering mass at a hospital chapel. His assassination was ordered by Salvadoran military officer Roberto D’Aubuisson, a graduate of the U.S.-run School of the Americas. Learn about his assassination on the National Security Archive. Learn more about Romero from the United Nations.

*The poem, I Am the Land, was first published in First Light: New and Selected Poems by E. Ethelbert Miller. Black Classic Press, 1994. An excerpt of the poem is published in Bartlett’s Familiar Black Quotations edited by Reth Powers. Little, Brown and Company, 2013. Reprinted here by permission of the author.

 


 

ETHELBERT MILLER / SOY LA TIERRA: POEMA A LA MEMORIA DE OSCAR ROMERO  

Traducción de Nancy Morejón

Soy la tierra.
Soy la hierba creciendo.
Soy los árboles.
Soy el viento, la voz que llama.
Soy los pobres.
Soy los hambrientos.

Las puertas de la iglesia se abren
de par en par como el corazón de un hombre.
En tiempos difíciles,
aquí hay una piedra, aquí hay una mano.

Dios sabe lo que significan nuestras plegarias.
Le he pedido a nuestro gobierno que escuche.
Dios no ha muerto.
Y yo, no moriré nunca.

Soy la tierra.
Soy la hierba creciendo.
Soy los árboles.
Soy el viento, la voz que llama.
Soy los pobres.
Soy los hambrientos.

Dios, que ha resucitado es revolucionario.
Dios, que ha resucitado cree en la paz.
Este es el significado de la luz.
Este es el significado del amor.

Las almas de mi pueblo son las páginas de la historia.
El pueblo del Salvador es los pueblos del mundo.

Yo soy Oscar Romero, humilde servidor.
Soy la tierra.
Soy todos los pueblos que no tienen tierra.
Soy la hierba creciendo.
Soy todos los niños que han asesinado.
Soy los árboles.
Soy los curas, las monjas, los creyentes.
Soy el viento, la voz que llama.
Soy los poetas que siempre cantarán.
Soy los pobres.
Soy el soñador cuyos sueños desbordan la esperanza.
Soy los hambrientos.
Soy el pueblo.
Yo soy Oscar Romero.

nancy-morejon© Nancy Morejon, reprinted here with author and translator’s permission

 

 

 

 

Posted Sunday, May 24, 2015 |

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