October 21, 2010 § Leave a comment

canto para matar una culebra




La culebra tiene los ojos de vidrio;

la culebra viene y se enreda en un palo;

con sus ojos de vidrio, en un palo;

con sus ojos do vidrio.

La culebra camina sin patas,;

la culebra se esconde en la yerba;

caminando se esconde en la yerba,

caminando sin patas.




Tú le das con el hacha, y se muere:

¡dale ya!

¡No le des con el pie, que te muerde,

no le des con el pie, que se va!

Sensemayá, la culebra,


Sensemayá, con sus ojos,


Sensemayá, con su lengua,


Sensemayá, con su boca,

sensemaya . . .

¡La culebra muerta no puede comer;

la culebra muerta no puede silbar;,

no puede caminar,

no puede correr!

¡La culebra muerta no puede mirar;

la culebra muerta no puede beber;

no puede respirar,

no puede morder!


Sensemayá, la culebra . . .


Sensemayá, no se mueve . . .


Sensemayá, Za culebra . . .


(Chant to kill a snake)




The snake has eyes of glass;,

The snake coils on a stick;,

With his eyes of glass on a stick,

With his eyes of glass.

The snake can move without feet;

The snake can hide in the grass;

Crawling he hides in the grass,

Moving without feet.


Hit him with an ax and he dies;

Hit him! Go on, hit him!

Don’t hit him with your foot or he’ll bite;,

Don’t hit him with your foot, or he’ll get away.

Sensemayá, the snake,


Sensemayá, with his eyes,


Sensemayá, with his tongue,


Sensemayá, with his mouth,


The dead snake cannot eat;

the dead snake cannot hiss;

he cannot move,

he cannot run!

The dead snake cannot look;,

the dead snake cannot drink,;

he cannot breathe,

he cannot bite.


Sensemayá, the snake . . .

¡Mayombe-bombe-mayombé!Sensemayá, does not move . . .


Sensemayá, the snake . . .


Sensemayá, he died!

by Nicolás Guillén John A Crow, John T. Reed, John E. Englekirk, lrving A. Leonard, An Anthology of Spanish-American Literature. New York: Meridith Corp., 1968.


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