Luis Cernuda (born Luis Cernuda Bidón September 21, 1902 – November 5, 1963), was a Spanish poet, a member of the Generation of '27. During the Spanish Civil War, in early 1938, he went to the UK to deliver some lectures and this became the start of an exile that lasted till the end of his life. He taught in the universities of Glasgow and Cambridge before moving in 1947 to the US. In the 1950s he moved to Mexico. While he continued to write poetry, he also published wide-ranging books of critical essays, covering French, English and German as well as Spanish literature. He was frank about his homosexuality at a time when this was problematic and became something of a role model for this in Spain. His collected poems were published under the title La realidad y el deseo.
From our old friendship
I never thought I'd ever remember again
How a whole tribe, such a strange group
The French—or was it the English?—government placed a plaque
On that house at 8 Great College Street, Camden Town, London,
Where in a room Rimbaud and Verlaine, a peculiar couple,
Lived, drank, worked, and fornicated
The whole day's heat, distilled
Into a suffocating vapor, the sand releases.
Against the deep blue background of the night
Like an impossible drizzle of water,
If the Arab musician
Plucks the lute strings
With an eagle quill
To awaken the notes,