• Daniel Ethan Finneran

"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!”

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