My Voice

By Rafael Campo b. 1964 Rafael Campo
To cure myself of wanting Cuban songs,
I wrote a Cuban song about the need
For people to suppress their fantasies,
Especially unhealthy ones. The song
Began by making reference to the sea,
Because the sea is like a need so great
And deep it never can be swallowed. Then
The song explores some common myths
But the Cuban people and their folklore:
The story of a little Carib boy
Mistakenly abandoned to the sea;
The legend of a bird who wanted song
So desperately he gave up flight; a queen
Whose strength was greater than a rival king’s.
The song goes on about morality,
And then there is a line about the sea,
How deep it is, how many creatures need
Its nourishment, how beautiful it is
To need. The song is ending now, because
I cannot bear to hear it any longer.
I call this song of needful love my voice.

Rafael Campo, “My Voice” from What The Body Told, published by Duke University Press. Copyright © 1996 by Rafael Campo. Reprinted by permission of Georges Borchardt, Inc.

Source: What The Body Told (Duke University Press, 1996)

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Poet Rafael Campo b. 1964

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Nature, Seas, Rivers, & Streams, Arts & Sciences, Music, Social Commentaries, History & Politics, Mythology & Folklore

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Rafael  Campo

Biography

Rafael Campo is a poet and essayist who teaches and practices internal medicine at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Campo earned a BA and MA from Amherst College and an MD from Harvard Medical School. His primary care practice serves mostly Latinos, gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered people, and people with HIV infection. Campo is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including a . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Nature, Seas, Rivers, & Streams, Arts & Sciences, Music, Social Commentaries, History & Politics, Mythology & Folklore

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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