"Through Florida’s streets, a new flag doth fly" Or, "Sic Semper Castro"
Through Florida’s streets, a new flag doth fly
Stripes red, blue, and white, embellish the sky.
The field of this flag, one star doth adorn,
A sign of the light, the upswelling morn.
It wavers with grace, sublime symmetry,
But, yet, if not mine, whose flag could this be?—
Methought at a glance, “’twas my banner own”,
So much was it like the flag of my home
Whose stripes number more, a valiant thirteen
Whose fifty bright stars, so brilliantly gleam;
Lustrous and loud, to the world does it call
For justice, peace, and liberty for all.
A sign universal, all can embrace
Regardless one’s creed, religion, or race.
Such is our freedom, our untrammeled right
For which I would suffer, and vehemently fight
Like heroes of yore, unschooled but equipped
For each rude battle, and every hardship
In which they engaged, one thought on their mind:
“Freedom from tyrants!”—the bane of mankind.
So spoke the message of that foreign flag
That on every car, now vig’rously wags
In all directions, in Flor’da’s dread heat
The banner of Cuba restlessly beats.
The soul of a nation, so long repressed
The hope of a people, in bondage dressed
With slavery’s lines, deep-etched in their face
Concealed from the world, a western disgrace.
The “New Hemisphere”, brave side of the Earth
Beyond the broad pillars of Her’cles girth.
Promontories tall, loom large like a gate
“Ne Plus Ultra!”—warn, or suffer thy fate.
Antique exhortation, shorn of its bite
Defanged of its venom, drained of its might
The moment the sea, Atlantic by name
Opened its road, whence Enlightenment came.
Yet tenebrous still is Cuba’s sad sky
‘Neath which a king reigns, and innocents die.
Like Stalin or Lenin, Mao or Pol Pot
“Il Duce”, Or Hitler, the German despot;
Who, failed as an artist, thrived as a fiend
Sating his bloodlust with actions obscene;
Desirous of a purified state
Now governed by fear, the mother of hate.
Rife with charisma, a grand strategy
A Jew-less agenda, a new Germany!
A Reich to remember, thousands of years
A führer to toast, with thousands of beers.
Mercifully short, the millennium fell
But long did it linger, Deutschland’s foul smell.
Impressed by its odor, Stalin looked on
In between over-seeing vile pogroms
And stripping of food unhappy Ukraine
And counting the kulaks soon to be slain.
Tutored by Lenin, Inspired by Marx
That radical train on which one embarks
In hopes of confronting the bourgeoisie
And claiming a win, for woke penury.
But ’tis not a doctrine peaceably sought
For true revolution, wars must be fought;
Businesses buried, factories reclaimed
Free thinkers silenced, dissidents maimed.
Such was the law issued by “Uncle Joe”
Tickling the ear of a youthful Castro.
Trained as a lawyer, in great privilege bred
Thoughts of Bolshevism danced through his head.
With Che on his left, Raúl on his right,
He boarded “Granma”, and took speedy flight.
At Las Coloradas did his ship land
Whereat he alighted, joined by his band
Who took to the mountains, hidden by green
Enshrouded guerrillas, soldiers unseen.
Battle they waged on Batista, the foe
Aiming their wrath on the valley below.
To the Maestra, Sierra redoubt
They would return with a snarl and a shout:
“Sic Semper Tyrannis!”—message malign
When spilled from the mouths of dread ’59;
Which rolled toward Havana, power in sight
Where passions were torn, and resistance was slight.
The feckless dictator, up with a start
Boarded a plane, with an eye to depart;
Sparse were his options, immense were his funds
Iberia beckoned, Spain’s cordial sun.
Thither he fled, his home in disarray
As Fidel’s new regime got underway.
Opponents were tortured, dissidents shot
Commerce was stifled and seized on the spot.
Ripened at last, sweet Utopia’s fruit
And who best to pluck it—Castro the brute.
Fetid the air in which this strange fruit grew,
Sooty miasma, the land did denude
Of all its great strength, its hope, and its worth
‘Till this new hour, its fearless re-birth.
On Cuba’s broad shore, the tide’s doubtless changed
Propaganda for truth, now is exchanged.
For decades bullied, abused, and unfree
Crushed by the boot heel of rank tyranny.
America, though large, feels this cruel weight
Dislikes the burden, and rejects the fate
Which claims that poor Cuba—poor shall it be
Now and forever, bleak eternity.
No—independence is every man’s right
A gift of god’s grace, for which we must fight.
And so—Fight on!—my Caribbean friends!
Endure the hard conflict, dream of the ends.
Of which you’re assured, lest your spirit lag
I’m convinced that it won’t, so says your flag.
America smiles—a spirit she shares
With this troubled island, beset with cares.
Thus festoons her streets, Cuba’s banner proud
Which I cheer with a voice, ardent and loud:
“Patria y Vida!”—bellow my lips
‘Till, by freedom’s light, tyranny is eclipsed.
And so do I echo the patriot’s call:
“Sic Semper Castro, liberty for all!”