To the Soldiers of El Salvador
Who from 1931 to 1980 Have Ruled the Country
Through a Military Dictatorship

by Lillian Jiménez (translated 1988)

Lillian Jiménez (b. circa 1950) a Salvadoran poet, has suffered imprisonment for her political convictions. A journalist who now resides in Mexico, she has published several books of poetry and a treatise on the economic and social realities of her homeland. Jiménez‘s country has experienced the loss of a huge percentage of its population to death squads, terrorism, and the poverty that results from political turmoil and economic injustice. The United States, especially under Reagan, was the primary sponsor of the military dictatorship.



All flesh and bone are thus betrayed,
these sons of dogs who cover life with tar
attempting to darken the Sun.

Look at them standing before History
the universal truth,
before the living and the dead
who speak from the graves and attest to their deeds.

Behind their uniforms
thousands of skeletons are crying
who are calmly awaiting with hope their appointed hour.
There is a chill that causes the earth to tremble
and frightens the birds from the forest.

The military men
are a sophism and simultaneously a dialect,
products without reason of the reason of class.
They are men
without authentic manhood.

But tomorrow
Even without desiring it,
they will have to see what must be seen.
They will have to pay
for the horrible fate of each victim,
for all the lips they silenced,
for all the dreams they ripped out of our breasts.

Tomorrow, in the center of their eyes,
the coffins will open up.
They will see face to face
all those whom they have assassinated,
all the luminous immortal fallen.

The thousands and thousands of tortured
and slain
will rise as a rising tide against them.


Translation by Mary McAnally




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