On Poetry and Culture Shock

Noche de Reyes

Cabalgata de Reyes.
Madre con hiyab,
niño riendo.

Seis de Enero.
No veo por las calles
Ni una bicicleta.

Siete de Enero.
El barrendero maldice
los caramelos.


These haikus don't translate into English at all because they are too culturally bound. In Spain, Christmas gifts are brough on January 6th by the Three Magi. There are parades on the evening of January 5th and the morning of the 6th (depends on the town) and the participants throw candy to the watchers. The significance of the first haiku in the cycle is that the parade is a Catholic tradition and my city has been ethnically, culturally and religiously homogeneous until very recently. 

The Magi's parade
Mother on hiyab,
Laughing son.

January 6th.
Not a bicycle in sight.  

January 7th.
The streetsweeper curses
All this candy.


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