Jacques Viau Renaud, translated by Ariel Francisco



Poet Bio: Jacques Viau Renaud (1941—1965) was born in Haiti and raised in the Dominican Republic following his father's exile in 1948. During the Dominican Revolution of 1965, he joined the rebel forces in support of ousted president Juan Bosch, fighting against the US backed dictatorship. He was killed in battle at age 23. 

Translator Bio: Ariel Francisco is the author of A Sinking Ship is Still a Ship (Burrow Press, 2020) and All My Heroes Are Broke (C&R Press, 2017). A poet and translator born in the Bronx to Dominican and Guatemalan parents and raised in Miami, his work has been featured in The New Yorker, The New York City Ballet, The Academy of American Poets, The American Poetry Review, and elsewhere.

My homeland arose


My homeland arose from this mourning life

like a lone earthen breeze in the wastelands.

Dry air of the mountains

caresses our faces with the aroma of death

while hunger walks the path of man.


The dry earth split.

A hostile sky slings towards the sun

and the clouds.

Nothing falls.

The leaves on the trees abandon their green

going on naked

leaving the agonized trees to die.

The rivers become lethargic and tired

the birds flee

from dust exhaled by the earth

from aluminum and gold

from long hungers and widening thirst.


Like this my homeland emerged from this mourning life

with frayed pages and uncertain steps

like the dead bursting from their tomb,

distributing lots of silence to the landless peasants

sweating from anguish.


Life was doling out agony

man rose like a cactus

in the wastelands solitude

opening paths in the scarce grass

and abundant rocks.


Dust drowned the howling

and smothered the sores under the sun and sky

of this massacred land.

© The Acentos Review 2020