Miguel Hernández: four poems from prison

El cementerio está cerca
de donde tú y yo dormimos,
entre nopales azules,
pitas azules y niños
que gritan vívidamente
si un muerto nubla el camino.

De aquí al cementerio, todo
es azul, dorado, límpido.
Cuatro pasos, y los muertos.
Cuatro pasos, y los vivos.

Límpido, azul y dorado,
se hace allí remoto el hijo.

The graveyard isn’t far
from where we sleep, you and I,
among blue prickly-pears,
blue agaves & children
who cry out so vividly
whenever a dead body darkens the road.

From here to the graveyard, everything
is blue, golden, translucent.
Four steps & the dead.
Four steps & the living.

Translucent, blue & golden,
my son grows distant there.

* * *

Como la higuera joven
de los barrancos eras.
Y cuando yo pasaba
sonabas en la sierra.

Como la higuera joven,
resplandeciente y ciega.

Como la higuera eres.
Como la higuera vieja.
Y paso, y me saludan
silencio y hojas secas.

Como la higuera eres
que el rayo envejeciera.

You were like a young fig tree
growing on the cliffs.
And when I passed
you were roaring on the ridge.

Like a young fig tree,
dazzling & blind.

You are like a fig tree.
Like an old fig tree.
I pass by & am greeted
by silence & dead leaves.

You are like a fig tree
aged by a bolt of lightning.

* * *

Tristes guerras
si no es amor la empresa.
Tristes. Tristes.

Tristes armas
si no son las palabras.
Tristes. Tristes.

Tristes hombres
si no mueren de amores.
Tristes. Tristes.

Sad wars
when love isn’t the mission.
Sad. Sad.

Sad the weapons
that are not words.
Sad. Sad.

Sad the men
if they aren’t dying for love.
Sad. Sad.

* * *

Rumorosas pestañas
de los cañaverales.
Cayendo sobre el sueño
del hombre hasta dejarle
el pecho apaciguado
y la cabeza suave.

Ahogad la voz del arma,
que no despierte y salte
con el cuchillo de odio
que entre sus dientes late.
Así, dormido, el hombre
toda la tierra vale.

Storied eyelashes
of the sugarcane fields.
Raining down on
a man’s dream
until his breast grows calm
& his head light.

Drown the weapon’s voice,
don’t let it rouse & leap
with hatred’s blade
beating between its teeth.
Asleep like this, a man is equal
to all the earth.

1938-1941
Originals may be under copyright. The translations are my own.

Wikipedia: Miguel Hernández

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