Not so far from my home

Lies a sparkling tropical isle

A natural beauty rivaling our own

Surrounded by the Atlantic and Caribbean seas

The Gulf of Mexico completes the watery ring

Sands for miles of fine white powder

Meets pale teal water beckoning you in

Palm trees wave in sultry breezes

Culture rich from Africa and Spain

Traditions abound with pride and honor

Music is rich and art so colorful

Cuba’s glamour, a one-time paradise destination

But what’s that feeling that seems to dishonor

 There’s a pall, oppression, the reign of domination

The removal of liberty and freedom of will

Has brought these fine people to an inner standstill

They languish in decline, their autonomy stolen

A dictatorship rules a state of prison

Creativity quashed, no independent thinking

These islanders would rather risk death

Than live with this subjugation

Some take precarious flight

To escape this way of existence

The thought of a life across the straits

Is worth the peril they’re willing to face

My entry for Monday’s Poetry Potluck:  “Dictatorship, Autocracy and Despotism”

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  1. jgavinallan

     /  June 12, 2011

    This is relevant. You show the beauty of this country and how it is crushed by the boot of oppression.
    I feel the depression at the circumstances that are causing so much sorrow only a few miles from USA.
    hugs for a great poet


    • Yes, a real shame. My hope is that all oppressed people everywhere will someday have their freedom.

      Thanks, Jaye, for a wonderful response to my poem.



  2. It is sad. If the people their rose up like they have in the middle east; I would support military intervention. First I’d like to see us pull out of NATO. Lives and $$$ are being wasted with that organization. Cuba is home to a lot of American citizens.


    • Very sad. I don’t know enough about NATO and how it’s doing these days to comment–but if it’s like anything that is politically related–it’s not faring well and wastes money.

      Thanks for sharing your opinion, Michael.


  3. Beautifully wrought and compasstionately written. I have always sympathized with the plight of the Cubans and what they go through to get here. Thanks for doing this, Gayle.


    • Thank you, Jamie. You know I keep thinking back to a number of years ago when a group of people left Cuba to try and make it to Florida’s shore–a tiny child survived in a tire–his mother, along with others, died making the trip. Can you imagine?

      How desperate do you have to feel to even think of making a trip like that…


  4. Cuba is a place stuck in time. Your poem depicts it beautifully.


  5. I like the careful way you situate and describe that “state of prison”, you straightforward poet!


  6. Poetess…


  7. I wish I knew the issue, your poem is well presented.
    Happy Potluck!


  8. Very well written, and powerful piece! The crushing of the human soul is a sin like no other!


    • Thank you very much, Charles–I so appreciate your comment for me. And I couldn’t agree with you more–a terrible “sin”!


  9. A wonderful tribute to a people who have maintained their spirit for the arts, music, dance…no matter what despotism exists around them.


  10. You are so right, Lyn. I’m in awe of people in these situations who can maintain their inner spirit and still express beauty.


  11. Aahh..indeed!
    Alas, when beauty and kind people are brought to test before evil politicians, everything gets so messy and sad… And despite all that, the people try their best to fight it all, and get back to usual awesomeness… I guess that’s what shows the true spirit of these fine people… cheers to the people of Cuba!!

    Very Well expressed, Gayle dear.. intense and oh so honest!


  12. Champion write…encompassing and compassionate.


  13. You nailed the prompt amazing job!


  14. Well said … you have captured the pain and suffering of an oppressed people. It’s a beautiful isalnd that is stuck in the past. This could be used for a history class. You have touched upon every aspect of life there. Ver y nice …!!!

    Namaste, Izzy


    • I really appreciate your words here for me, Izzy–thank you. I really feel for these people–and all others likewise oppressed.

      Gayle xoxo


  15. Wow,intense and so honest.Loved the way you put it into such eloquent poetry.Beautiful!


  16. I dont know much about Cuba. very strange but almsot nothing sans castro.


    • That pretty much says it all–Castro is a dictator that has brought the country to great poverty and oppression for its people.


      • inside stories of such countries rarely come out before the true freedom dawns.


        • Cuba is 90 miles off the southernmost tip of Florida (the state where I live). Many desperate people of Cuba try to make the treacherous trip on makeshift “boats” to reach the U.S.–often losing their lives along the way.

          One infamous story was of a young child–I think he was 5 or 6 at the time, who survived the dangerous trip tucked into a large tire. His mother, who was making the trip also, perished along with many others. But this child was saved from the waters and brought to the U.S.–Florida. His relatives here wanted to keep him but his father–who stilled lived in Cuba–wanted him returned. A big court battle ensued with his American relatives fighting to keep him here. His father won and he was returned to him–and I agreed with that outcome. He should have been returned immediately in my opinion.



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