Story of the Chair (Historia de la silla)

Music piece by:
Silvio Rodríguez
Testimony by:
Eduardo Andrés Arancibia Ortiz
Experience in:

This was one of the songs Silvio Rodríguez(1946-) Cuban singer-songwriter and leader of the Nueva Trova movement. sang to us the day he visited the political prisoners in Santiago’s Public Jail in 1990.

I had the chance to thank him on behalf of Víctor Zúñiga Arellano, a political prisoner who died in an escape attempt in 1987 in the Santiago Penitentiary, as this songwriter had been a treasured companion during Víctor’s life in hiding.

No less important are the memories of visits by Joan Manuel Serrat and the concert given to us by Illapu, deploying a full technical array. During my long stretch in prison, I also became acquainted with a cantata by the political prisoners, an anecdote of resistance in the face of the oft-repeated ban of our subversive songs.


Published on: 05 January 2015

On the roadside, there is a chair
a bird of prey lurks in that place.
The friend's coat is laid out
the friend does not sit to rest.
His shoes are so worn out that they’ve become mirrors
parching his throat with the sun's heat.
And through his tiredness, an old man passes
who dries his sweat with his shadow.

On the tip of love, the friend travels,
on the sharpest tip, you can see.
That same tip that digs into the earth
that digs in the ruins, in the traces of a woman.
That is why he is a soldier and a lover,
that is why he is wood and is metal.
That is why he plants roses
as he plants reasons made of flag and arsenal.

He who has a song will have storm
he who has company, will have loneliness.
He who follows a good path will have chairs
dangerous ones, inviting him to stop.
But the song is worth a good storm
and the company is worth the solitude.
The agony of haste is always worth it
even if truth ends up filled with chairs.