Miguel Hernández: Elegy (XXIX: From ‘El Rayo Que No Cesa’)
(In Orihuela, his town and mine, Ramon Sije, whom I loved so much,
has died like lightning, he and I.)
I want to be, friend of my soul,
the tearful gardener of the earth you occupy
and enrich, all too soon.
Feeding the rain, the snail-shells
and organs, my grief,
to the desolate poppies
I’ll give your heart for food
Such sorrow gathers in my chest,
that I mourn with painful breath.
A harsh slap, an icy blow,
an invisible, murderous axe-stroke,
a brutal thrust has felled you.
There’s no expanse big enough for my pain,
I weep for my misfortune and yours
and I feel your death more than I do my life.
I walk on the tracks of the dead,
and without warmth from anyone, or consolation
I go from my feelings to my work.
Too soon death lifted in flight,
too soon the dawn broke,
too soon you’re surrounded with earth.
No forgiveness for lovesick death,
no forgiveness for thankless life,
no forgiveness for earth or nothingness.
A storm rises, in my hands,
of rocks, lightning bolts, harsh axes,
thirsty and hungry for catastrophes.
I want to gnaw at the earth with my teeth,
I want to take the earth apart bit by bit
with dry, burning bites.
I want to mine the earth till I find you,
and kiss your noble skull,
and un-shroud you, and return you.
You’ll return to my garden, my fig tree:
In the high trellises of flowers,
of angelic labours and waxes,
Your soul will flit like a bee.
You’ll return to the ploughmen’s lullaby
at their beloveds’ windows
You’ll brighten the shadow of my brow,
and your girl and the bees will go along,
on both sides, arguing over your blood.
My eager voice of a lover
calls from a field of foaming almonds,
to your heart, now ruined velvet.
To the winged souls of the creamy
almond blossoms I summon you,
we’ve so much to speak of,
friend of my soul, me and you.
10th of January 1936