Rafael Pombo -- Modelo Alfabético

About a year ago, I introduced you to Colombia's Dr. Seuss. His name is Rafael Pombo. Pombo wrote a number of poems that he hoped would teach children to be wise. This poem is my favorite. It is called Modelo Alfabetico (Model Alphabet). In this poem, Pombo tells his son the attributes he feels will make an honorable man. It happens to be my favorite Pombo poem. I love the message he was trying to convey. I have included an English translation, so many of you can fall in love with it too! :)

¿Quieres ser hombre completo,
Do you want to be a complete man

hombre a prueba de alfabeto?
a alphabet proof man?

Sé Amable, Activo, Aseado,
Be friendly, active, well-groomed

Bondadoso y Bienhablado,
kind and well-spoken

Claro, más cauto en Confianzas,
Clear, but cautious in extending trust,

sordo a Chismes, parco en Chanzas,
deaf to gossip, a frugal jokester,

libre en Digna Dependencia
free in worthy dependence

del Deber y la Conciencia;
of responsiblity and conscience

Experto en algo Especial,
Expert in something special

Franco, Fiel, Firme, Formal,
Frank, faithful, firm, formal

Grato, Generoso, Humano,
Pleasant, generous, humane

buen Hijo, esposo y Hermano,
A good son, husband and brother

ejemplo a la Ingenua Infancia;
an example of pure-hearted childhood

Justo, Jovial, sin Jactancia;
Just, jovial, without boasting

Gentil en serios hechizos,
Charming in serious situations

No en modas, polkas y rizos;
Not into fashion, polkas or curls. (The 'bad' trends of the day)

Leal a la Ley, Laborioso,
Loyal to the law, hardworking,

Modesto, no Malicioso,
Modest, not mean

Natural, Noble en tu modo;
Natural, noble in your own way

con Orden y Objeto en todo;
with order and purpose in everything;

Paciente y Perseverante
Patient and persistent

La Prenda del triunfante;
The rewarder of the winner (don't be a sore loser)

Patriota, Puro y Pacífico;
Patriotic, Pure, and Peaceful;

Puntual, no en Parla Prolífico
Punctual, not prolific in words

ni Quijote o Quejumbroso.
Not a Quijote (implies not a hero in your own eyes) or a whiner

Se Realmente Religioso
Be truly religious

Sin Superstición Salvaje;
and without wild superstitions

Sobrio en juicio, en boca, en traje;
Sober (or modest) in judgement, in utterance, in dress;

Servicial, muy Tolerante,
Helpful, and very tolerant

Útil, Veráz, Vigilante,
Useful, truthful, and vigilant

Valiente, no Vengativo,
Valient, not vengeful,

ni un Yoista repulsivo.
not self-centered repulsive person

Sé exácto como un reloj.
Be as exact as a watch.

Nunca Zángano, ni Zafio;
Never lazy nor uncouth.

Sé otro Washington, si hay dos;
Be another Washington, if there can be two;

y haz que diga tu epitafio:
And make it so that on your epitaph it reads:

Honró a Padres, Patria y Dios.
He honored his parents, his country and his God.

Recently, Carlos Vives put this amazing poem to music. SUPER COOL!!!! I'll talk more about the CD tomorrow. Here is a preview.


em and pete said…
Are you going to review the Pombo Musical CD...we LOVE it!!! I'm so glad we got several in Colombia. We gave them as gifts to the people with kids in our families along with illustrated books of Pombo's stories, and of course kept one or two for ourselves.
Colombian Mommy said…
Em and Pete,

I will be talking about the CD tomorrow. We also love it!!! Each of us has a favorite song -- I like Modelo Alfabetico, my dh loves Dios y el Alma, My 8 year old -- Juan Matachin, and my 5 year old goes back and forth between Simon el Bobito and Pastorcita.

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