Themes and Meanings

(Critical Guide to Poetry for Students)

Vivid and explicit language conveys the tragedy and pathos of the women who endure the exile, torture, and death of their Sandinista sons and brothers. It does not compromise its political ideology with euphemisms or extraneous poetic language. The narrator begins the poem as a continuation of an account, another chapter of a chronicle written by a human rights observer. The first line begins “Now I’ll tell you. . . .” The speaker serves as a reporter, a focused intermediary illuminating the experiences of several women as they survive atrocities. From the honesty and integrity of the language emerges a poetic voice speaking from life. It serves as a contemporary epistle, alluding to the biblical letters of the early apostles and disciples as they evangelized and recorded their experiences. The oppression, exile, persecution, and torture of early Christians correspond with the women’s experiences during the siege of Cuá.

The poem also demonstrates that dreams and visions spun by the magical realism of the traditional Nicaraguan peasants defy and defeat the brutal regime that governs them. Shared dream sequences return the embattled peasants to their inherent dignity and power so that they may determine their own destiny. The women’s imaginations seek out their men. The power of their shared imagination blends their visualization of a peaceful and free village life with the poignant reality of their torture and imprisonment. The women’s...

(The entire section is 446 words.)