Rubén Darío: “To Roosevelt”(1904)
The voice that would reach you, Hunter, must speak
in Biblical tones, or in the poetry of Walt Whitman.
You are primitive and modern, simple and complex;
you are one part George Washington and one part Nimrod.
You are the United States,
future invader of our naïve America
with its Indian blood, an America
that still prays to Christ and still speaks Spanish.
You are a strong, proud model of your race;
you are cultured and able; you oppose Tolstoy.
You are an Alexander-Nebuchadnezzar,
breaking horses and murdering tigers.
(You are a Professor of Energy,
as the current lunatics say).
You think that life is a fire,
that progress is an irruption,
that the future is wherever
tour bullet strikes.
The United States is grand and powerful.
Whenever it trembles, a profound shudder
runs down the enormous backbone of the Andes.
If it shouts, the sound is like the roar of a lion.
And Hugo said to Grant: “The stars are...
From Selected Poems of Ruben Dario by Ruben Dario, translated by Lysander Kemp, Copyright © 1965, renewed 1993.
Theodore Roosevelt (Library of Congress)View Full Size