Isbel Díaz Torres

HAVANA TIMES – Snow will never fall in Cuba. This, and other mysterious reasons, made me write a poem titled En el nevado pais de los mendigos (“In The Snow-Covered Country of the Beggars”) years ago, borrowing the title from a piece by the beloved Cuban poet Fina Garcia Marruz.

This post is also crowned by a verse from one of Fina’s pieces. For me, the snow and Fina levitate together, indissolubly, as substances so simple and unalloyed they cannot be penetrated.

We’ll never have snow in Cuba, I was saying, which is why the experience of touching it, feeling it cold and painful in the palm of the hand, is something I considered impossible, as a far-off dream.

However, I’ve held the snow between my fingers.

First I saw it through the bus window, covering the grass that hugs the road, on the aged conifers that line the fields and lose themselves on the horizon, on the wooden fences.

At a brief pause during my journey, I was able to grasp the incomprehensible chaos of the tiny snowflakes, swirling freely to fill the air with light, unpredictable gusts of wind and kind drizzles.

Later, when I got off the bus, the contact was direct, full, total.

Away with the cap and gloves! Delicate needles of ice dug into my forehead and vanished immediately. What a beautiful kiss.

All the while, the asphyxiating hot cement tiles in my room in Havana, where the high temperatures torture my loved one day in and day out, where I have sweated in both the summer and winter heat, resonated through the air.

Before I arrived at the home that took me in, on the gray flower beds, I saw small children who had finished building the first snowman of the winter: misshapen, rustic, ghostly…and tender.

Lifting itself off the dirty ground, half-drunk, it said to me: “As you see, Isbel, it’s nothing out of this world.”

And I looked at it, ecstatic, tears swelling in my eyes.

Isbel Diaz

Isbel Diaz Torres: Pinar del Rio and Havana are my cities. I was born in one on March 1, 1976, and I’ve always lived in the other. I am a biologist and poet, though at times I’ve also been a musician, translator, teacher, computer geek, designer, photographer and editor. I’m very non-conformist and a defender of differences – perhaps due to always having been an ever-repressed “model child.” Nothing enthralls me more than the unknown, nature and art; these serve as my sources of mystery and development. A surprising activism has been born in me over the recent period. Though I’m not very sure how to channel it, I feel that it’s a worthy and legitimate energy. Let’s hope I have the discernment to manage it.

One thought on “The Sweet Snow is Falling

  • Isbel, I’m a snow nut and always find the first snowfall to be magical. Everything around you turns to beauty. You’ve got it pal!! Oh, for every gain their’s pain so get the shovel and start digging cause that’s the ritual once it ceases.

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