Miguel Hernandez (1910-1942 / Spain)
It Would Have Been Less Painful
It would have been less painful if it had been
nard your complexion to my gaze, nard,
thistle your skin to my touch, thistle,
bitter-apple your voice to my ears, bitter.
Bitter-apple is your voice to my ears, bitter,
and I burn, in and around your voice, I burn,
and I’m slow to burn, what I’m slow to offer,
juniper oil, my voice for yours, juniper.
Briar is your hand, if I hold it, briar,
wave your body, if I reach for it, wave,
close to me once, yet a thousand times not close.
Heron is my pain, a slender sad heron,
alone like a breath and a cry, alone,
stubborn in its error and disgrace, stubborn.
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