03 July 2021


 By Gioconda Belli

Translated by Steven F White

If you are a strong woman
protect yourself from the beasts who seek
to feed off your heart.
They use all the disguises of earth's carnival:
they dress up as guilt, as opportunities,
as the price that needs to be paid.
They dig up your soul, drill down with their
looks and cries
into the deepest magma of your essence,
not to partake of your fire
but to extinguish the passion
and erudition of your dreams.

If you're a strong woman
you have to know that the air that nourishes
also brings parasites and blowflies,
little insects that seek to lodge in your blood
and feed off what's solid and great in you.
Do not lose your empathy, but fear what
leads you
to swallow your tongue, to hide who you are,
what forces you to submit
and promises you heaven on earth in
for a complacent smile.

If you're a strong woman
be prepared for the battle:
learn to be alone
to sleep in absolute darkness without fear.
know that no one will throw you a rope in
the storm.
Learn to swim upstream.
Educate yourself in the occupation of
thinking and intellect.
Read, make love with yourself, build your
surround in with deep trenches
but make wide your doors and your
it is necessary that you cultivate great
that those who love you know who you are.
Make a circle of bonfires and in the centre of
your room
Light a fire that burns eternal and keeps your
dreams alive.
If you are a strong woman,
protect yourself with words and trees
and invoke the memory of ancient women.
Let it known that you are a magnetic field
towards which will fly rusty nails
and the deadly oxide of all shipwrecks.
Protect all, but protect yourself first.
Keep your distance.
Build yourself. Take care of yourself.
Enjoy your power.
Guard it.
Do it for yourself.
I'm asking you in the name of all of us.

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