A famous poem known to many Spanish speakers is Cultivo una rosa blanca, ‘‘I Nurture a White Rose’’, by José Martí.
José Martí was born in 1853 in Havana, Cuba, as José Julián Martí y Pérez. He attended high school at the time of Cuba’s initial fight for independence. He decided to join the fight.
He turned into the principal organizer of Cuba’s war against Spanish, and is called by many the apostle of Cuban independence. However, not long after he committed himself to the cause, Martí was arrested and sentenced to six years of hard labor, and then was deported to Spain. Martí spent the rest of his life as a revolutionary, writing for the cause to free Cuba.
Not only did he use his writing talent to influence the thinking of many and fight for Cuba’s liberty, but he also wrote poetry that has touched the lives of many.
Rumors have it that Martí had been betrayed to the Cuban police by a close friend, which led to his arrest and punishment. While in prison, he penned a poem called The White Rose. The White Rose talks about a gardener who cultivates a white rose. He says that year round he cares for it, to give to his most trusted friend. Then, it says that for the enemy that destroyed him, he is not nurturing the thorns, but the rose.
Though Martí could have chosen to become bitter and hateful, through his poem he shows us the importance of self-control and forgiveness – nurturing the rose, not the thorn. When briar bushes grow, it’s important that we wait for the pure, white roses that will surely come. That is what Martí was trying to convey. What a person!
Martí continued influencing many through writing for the rest of his life. In 1895, he returned to Cuba, and died in the battlefield fighting for the freedom of his country.