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Oda a la Bugamblia/Ode to the Bougainvillea, a poem in Spanish and English, by Karel Van Horn

Oda a la Bugambilia
by Karel Van Horn

Compañera flor,
eterna amiga,
te amo—eres
y fuerte.

Pequeña selva
de colores
habitas macetas,
paredes y solares.

Acompañas fielmente
a la gente humilde,
en las ventanas de sus chozas,
en botes de café.

Festival de luces,
cobija viviente,
engalanas las bardas
de los pueblos olvidados.

Flor del desierto,
¡cómo te aguantas!
Creces con más ganas
bajo el sol abrazador.

Eterna amiga mía,
no dejes que te cambien,
te amo—eres
democrática y fuerte.

Ode to the Bougainvillea
by Karel Van Horn

Kindred flower,
eternal friend,
I adore you, for you’re
communal and
Tiny jungle
of unforgettable hues,
you live in clay pots,
on village walls, in vacant lots.

Faithful neighbor
to the humble and the poor,
you’re in windows of their shanties,
in old tin coffee cans.

Festival of lights,
blanket full of blossoms,
you brighten the ancient adobe
of old, abandoned towns.

Flowering desert vine,
how you manage to survive!
You thrive with so much gusto
under the unforgiving sun.

Eternal friend of mine,
don’t ever change—ever.
I adore you, for you’re
and enduring.

Bio: Karel Van Horn, Beech Grove, received her undergrad degree from Purdue University and graduate degrees from Ohio State University, specializing in Latin American literature. She has lived in Mexico City and Hermosillo, Mexico, where she taught Latin American literature at the University of Sonora. Once back in the U.S., she taught all levels of Spanish in Indianapolis Public Schools, where she developed a curriculum for Spanish for native speakers. Her poetic muses are social justice and Pablo Neruda.