A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.


Nicolás Guillén and the Switchblade
Wednesday, March 01, 2006

In 1967 my very Argentine but very communist aunt, Sara Lopes Colodrero de Irureta Goyena gave me three parting gifts when I left Buenos Aires. I shoved off in an ELMA (Empresa Lineas Maritimas Argentinas) Victory Ship called the Rio Aguapey. She told me that on board a long voyage stopping at many Brazilian ports anything could happen. "You will need this sevillana (switchblade)and so that it will open swiftly I am giving you this little bottle of whale oil. Whale oil is the best. And finally you will have plenty of time to read. I am giving you my copy of Cuban poet Nicolás Guillén's (1902-1989) Sóngoro Cosongo." I lost touch with Tia Sarita and the whale oil is long gone. But I still have the sevillana and I often read Tú no sabe inglé which is one of my favourite poems. I never had to use the switchblade on board the Rio Aguapey. I wasn't to know until 2000 that she had been built in North Vancouver.

Nicolás Guillén


Previous Posts
Gone Fishing

The Blue Chow (Chow)

Frank McCourt -Teacher Man

Laura Kramer and her Baroque Cello

Tamsin and Gerry Again

Gerry Gilbert's Bicycle

Carole Taylor, Art Phillips and the three Russians...

Billy "Bud"Cowsill 1948-2006

John Alleyne

Captain Schork's Intruder

January 2006

February 2006

March 2006

April 2006

May 2006

June 2006

July 2006

August 2006

September 2006

October 2006

November 2006

December 2006

January 2007

February 2007

March 2007

April 2007

May 2007

June 2007

July 2007

August 2007

September 2007

October 2007

November 2007

December 2007

January 2008

February 2008

March 2008

April 2008

May 2008

June 2008

July 2008

August 2008

September 2008

October 2008

November 2008

December 2008

January 2009

February 2009

March 2009

April 2009

May 2009

June 2009

July 2009

August 2009

September 2009

October 2009

November 2009

December 2009

January 2010

February 2010

March 2010