11 November 2007

A poppy

We continue to be without internet. And I have a cold, a sore throat all-over achiness kind of cold. The blogging is bound to get the brunt end of both sticks.

So in lieu of any acumen from me, I hereby offer you a bit of poetry, excerpted from a war poem, in honor of Remembrance Sunday and courtesy of Miguel Hernández. It’s a Spanish Civil War poem, of course, and here as in most of Hernández’s war poetry, blood is a character in its own right, morphing and coloring everything the poet sees (“My blood is a road” or “a liquid cloak twisted around my bones / like uncommon serpents”).

Consider the poem a poppy buttoned on today’s gray coat, in remembrance of the end of World War I, 89 years ago today, a war that was supposed to have put an end to all wars.

Bloody Fate

I come, blood on blood,
like the sea, wave on wave.
I have a soul the color of poppies.
The luckless poppy is my destiny,
from poppy to poppy I come
to fall on the horns of my fate.

I fight with blood, I argue
with the pounding of bodies, with all those veins,
and each body I bump and contend with
is one more cauldron of blood, one more chain.

Blood has given me birth, and jail.
Blood dissolves me and swells me up.
I am a building constructed of blood and plaster
which demolishes and rebuilds itself on a bone scaffolding.

A bricklayer in blood, dying blood,
washes and hangs out his shirt each day
not far from my eye,
and each night, with my soul,
and even with my eyelids, I gather it all back in…

(tr. Don Share)

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