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The Poems in Che’s Green Notebook

che guevara The Observer reports that the Mexican publishers, Planeta, are to publish the contents of Che Guevara’s green notebook, which was found among his belongings when he was shot by the CIA in 1967. The notebook has since been kept locked away by the Bolivian military.

The notebook contains 69 poems by Pablo Neruda (Chile), Nicolás Guillén (Cuba), César Vallejo (Peru) and León Felipe (Spain). The poems are written out in Guevara’s own hand.

The publication has been edited by the Mexican writer, Paco Ignacio Taibo II.

The following is a poem by César Vallejo:

The Black Heralds

There are blows in life, so powerful . . . I don’t know!
Blows as from the hatred of God; as if, facing them,
the undertow of everything suffered
welled up in the soul . . . I don’t know!

They are few; but they are . . . They open dark trenches
in the fiercest face and in the strongest back.
Perhaps they are the colts of barbaric Attilas;
or the black heralds sent to us by Death.

They are the deep falls of the Christs of the soul,
of some adored faith blasphemed by Destiny.
Those bloodstained blows are the crackling of
bread burning up at the oven door.

And man . . . Poor . . . poor! He turns his eyes, as
when a slap on the shoulder summons us;
turns his crazed eyes, and everything lived
wells up, like a pool of guilt, in his look.

There are blows in life, so powerful . . . I don’t know!

*

14 Responses to “The Poems in Che’s Green Notebook”

  1. Rhiannon Hobbs says:

    When is Planeta publishing this note book ?
    Best wishes Rhiannon

    jb says: I believe it was published last month (September).

  2. Rhiannon Hobbs says:

    where can I purchase it from looked on amazon, but cant find it ?
    Thanks Rhiannon

  3. dave eberhardt says:

    still looking for a translation of the leon felipe poem che reads to sugar workers to the effect man is a stupid but hard working child in the movie abt che

    brecht poems enheartening, aren’t they?

    u.s. produces very little political poetry- maybe gary snyder poetry here mostly useless

    can any one help?- my email is mozela9@surfglobal.net

  4. […] Guevara, alaturi de Pablo Neruda, Nicolás Guillén, César Vallejo, Julio Cortázar s.a. – vezi aici si aici). Despre Don […]

  5. subhasish das says:

    great poem of a great man

  6. Peet says:

    I found Che’s green notebook on amazon.com but it is in Spanish. Is there anywhere i can find an English copy?
    Peet

  7. oindri says:

    i have found the book in bengali translation

  8. Peru Vaccation says:

    The Black Heralds

    There are blows in life, so powerful . . . I don’t know!
    Blows as from the hatred of God; as if, facing them,

    “This is My Favourite Poem”

  9. any one have a translation of the felipe poem che read to the sugar cane workers?
    send me- reward offered (bk of my poems)

  10. Pink says:

    great man, and a really nice poem there. good stuff.

  11. Magenta Smith says:

    When you think about Che Guevara’s life and fate, this poem seems really very sad.

  12. david eberhardt says:

    But man is a laborious and stupid child
    who has made out of the game a sweaty (working) day.

    He has turned the drum stick to a hoe,
    and instead of playing on earth a song of joy
    has been digging her.
    If we only knew walking to the applause of the stars
    and making a poetic symbol of every day!
    I mean nobody knows digging in the rhythm of the sun
    and nobody had yet cut off an ear with love and grace.

    This baker, for example, why this baker
    does not put a rose of white bread
    on the lapel of that hungry beggar?

    – León Felipe, The Rose of Flour

  13. Richy D says:

    I’ve only recently heard about Che Guevara (surprisingly behind the times, I know) and am quite interested in checking out this “Green Notebook” so cheers for sharing.

    From that poem I loved, “Those bloodstained blows are the crackling of bread burning up at the oven door.”

  14. Lilliane says:

    There has been talk of a poem written by CHe for Tania. anyone seen it? how can i get a copy