Antonio Machado’s “Caminante, no hay camino / Traveler, There Is No Road” & Countee Cullen’s “Yet I Do Marvel” (The Favorite Poem Project)

Caminante, no hay camino / Traveler, There Is No Road

by Antonio Machado

“Caminante, son tus huellas
el camino y nada más;
Caminante, no hay camino,
se hace camino al andar.
Al andar se hace el camino,
y al volver la vista atrás
se ve la senda que nunca
se ha de volver a pisar.
Caminante, no hay camino
sino estelas en la mar.”

Traveler, your footprints
are the only road, nothing else.
Traveler, there is no road;
you make your own path as you walk.
As you walk, you make your own road,
and when you look back
you see the path
you will never travel again.
Traveler, there is no road;
only a ship’s wake on the sea.

translated by Mary G. Berg and Dennis Maloney

Watch “Caminante, no hay camino / Traveler, There Is No Road” by Antonio Machado, read by Emilio Aponte-Sierra (Guidance Counselor, Artist, West Palm Beach, FL), as part of the Favorite Poem Project

Yet I Do Marvel

by Countee Cullen

I doubt not God is good, well-meaning, kind,
And did He stoop to quibble could tell why
The little buried mole continues blind,
Why flesh that mirrors Him must some day die,
Make plain the reason tortured Tantalus
Is baited by the fickle fruit, declare
If merely brute caprice dooms Sisyphus
To struggle up a never-ending stair.
Inscrutable His ways are, and immune
To catechism by a mind too strewn
With petty cares to slightly understand
What awful brain compels His awful hand.
Yet do I marvel at this curious thing:
To make a poet black, and bid him sing!

Countee Cullen, “Yet I Do Marvel,” from Color. Copyright 1925 by Harper and Brothers; renewed 1953 by Ida M. Cullen. Reprinted with permission of Thompson and Thompson.

Watch “Yet Do I Marvel” by Countee Cullen, read by Todd Hellems (Student, Doraville, GA), as part of The Favorite Poem Project

This week’s issue is produced in partnership with The Favorite Poem Project.

Antonio Machado

Antonio Machado was a poet and playwright affiliated with Spain’s Generation of ‘98. He was born July 26th, 1875, in Seville, and studied literature in Madrid and at the Sorbonne in Paris. His final collection of poems was Nuevas canciones (Mundo Latino, 1924). Machado died of pneumonia while fleeing to Paris in 1939, three years into the Spanish Civil War.

Countee Cullen

Countee Cullen (born Countee LeRoy Porter; May 30, 1903 – January 9, 1946) was an American poet, novelist, children’s writer, and playwright, particularly well known during the Harlem Renaissance.