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Miguel Hernandez

(1910-1942 / Spain)

Bloody Fate


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


A creature must grow
from the seedbed of nothing,
and more than one turns up
under the design of an angry star,
under a troubled and bad moon.


The brushstroke
of a bloodstained foot fell
over my wound,
a planet of fired-up saffron fell,
an enraged red cloud fell,
a badly wounded ocean fell, a sky.


I came with the knife’s pain,
a knife was waiting when I got here.
They suckled me on the milk of the bitter-apple,
the juice of a crazy, murderous blade,
and when my eye opened to the sun for the first time
the first thing I saw was a wound,
and that was bad luck.


Vivid, ferocious flood, which formed me,
and chases me down.
Before I even had a name
my mother shoved me into this ravening land,
threw me onto my feet, and onto my side,
pushed me harder each time, toward the grave.


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


Though they are light, barbs of pain
mount up like badges on my chest:
That’s where love of farming wounds me,
and my deeply fallowed soul
has furrowed my hope with untreatable wounds
from the death agony of its plough.


All the implements
lie in wait for me:
the hatchet has left
secret signs for me,
stones, desires, and days
have excavated wellsprings inside my body
which, by themselves, swallow up sand
and melancholy.


The chains get stronger each time,
the snakes get stronger each time,
its power is greater and crueler,
the enveloping rings stronger,
stronger the heart, my heart.


In its vacuum-thick domicile—
the only place these visitations occur—
I keep a handful of letters and inscribed passions,
a jot of blood, and death.


Ay, frothing blod,
ay, roaring purple climber,
verdict on all the hours resounding
from beneath my head’s long-suffering anvil!


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.


Blood blooms, spreads
its wide foliage in my chest,
its brimming poplar grows wild
and falls violently undone into several fierce rivers.


Suddenly I see
that I am drowning in its angry torrents,
and I swim desperately against them
as if against a lethal stream of daggers.


The current drags me till it is glutted,
it tears me to pieces, sinks me, tramples me.
I wish I could haul myself away from its blows,
hoist my arms out of it,
draw the pain from my arms.


It will quit dragging me to pieces,
now that it ordains my life,
blood and its tide,
bodies, my bloody star.


I will be one dilated wound,
distended till there is
a corpse of foam: wind and nothing.

Submitted: Friday, September 24, 2010

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