Pedro Garfias: «Asturias»

Pedro Garfias (Salamanca, 1901-Monterrey, México, 1967) is a well unknown Spanish poet. He was a member of the literary 27’s Generation (Gª Lorca, Cernuda, Alberti…). Member of the Spanish Comunist Party, he colaborated during the Spanish civil war on the Republican side, being one of the founders of the Anti-Fascist Intellectuals Alliance. After the war, he was exiled in Mexico. Some of his books are Héroes del Sur -Heroes of the South- (1938) and  Primavera en Eaton Hastings -Springtime at Eaton Hastings- (1939). The most of his work was published in literary magazines and taken in civil war poems recopilation. One of his best poems are this.

The poem "Asturias". Written in 1937, this poem talk about the inminent fall of Asturias in Francoists’ hands. During those years, Asturias, a northern region (Cantabrian Sea), was a very poor land, whose the most of its popilation was working in the mines. In 1934, the Asturian miners, tired of injustice, arose against government: it’s the so call Asturian Revolution or 34’s Revolution. The right-winged government decided to put down the rebellion: the man who was appointed for that was general Francisco Franco. When Franco and the others generals arose against Republic in 1936, Asturias, but the province of Oviedo, keep loyal to government. But Franco’s forces was fierce and strong, so general Varela was taken Asturias little by little.


si yo pudiera,
si yo supiera cantarte.
 verde de montes
y negra de minerales.
Yo soy un hombre del sur,
polvo, sol, fatiga y hambre,
hambre de pan y horizontes… ¡hambre!
Bajo la piel resecada,
ríos sólidos de sangre
y el corazón asfixiado
sin ver para aliviarte.
Los ojos ciegos, los ojos,
ciegos de tanto mirarte
sin verte Asturias lejana,
hija de mi misma madre.
Dos veces, dos,
has tenido ocasión para jugarte
la vida en una partida
 y las dos te la jugaste.
Quién derribará ese árbol
de Asturias, ya sin ramaje,
desnudo, seco, clavado,
con su raíz entrañable
que corre por toda España,
crispándonos de coraje.
Mirad obreros del mundo,
su silueta recortarse
contra ese cielo impasible,
vertical, inquebrantable,
firme sobre roca firme,
herida viva su carne.
Millones de puños gritan
su cólera por los aires
millones de corazones
golpean contra tus cárceles.
Prepara tu salto último,
lívida muerte cobarde,
prepara tu último salto
que Asturias está aguardándote.
Sola en mitad de la tierra,
hija de mi misma madre,
sola en mitad de la tierra.

Asturias,/ if I could,/ if I knew how to sing you./ Asturias,/ green by mounts/ and black by minerals./ I am a man from the South,/ dust, Sun, tiredness and hunger,/ hunger of bread and horizons… Hunger!/ Under the so dryed skin/ solid rivers of blood,/ and the heart asfixiated/ without seeing for ease you./ The eyes blind, the eyes,/ blind of so watching you/ without see you, far away Asturias,/ daughter of my same mother./ Twice, two,/ has goten the opportunity/ to bet your life in a game/ and in twice you did it./ Who shall break down that tree, now branchesless,/ naked, dryed, sticked,/ with its deep root/ that runs along entire Spain,/ inflaming us with courage./ Look, workers of the world,/ its silhouette cutting/ in that impassive, vertical, unswerving sky,/ firmly on firm rock,/ living wound is its flesh./ Millions of fists are crying/ their anger in the air,/ millions of hearts/ are beating against its jails./ Get ready for your last jump,/ pallid coward death,/ get ready for your last jump/ for Asturias is waiting for you/ all alone, in the middle of the earth,/ daughter of my same mother,/ all alone in the middle of the earth.

Pedro Garfias

Víctor Manuel (Víctor Manuel San José) is a famous Asturian songwriter since the swinginng 60’s. Member of the Spanish Comunist Party, made a lot of critical songs against Franco’s regime. Víctor Manuel’s style is a kind of pop music, sometimes mixed with Asturian traditional tunes. Víctor Manuel sings his own words, or poems by others, as Blas de Otero. In 1977 he recorded an LP named 10; this LP is one of his most politicall works;in that was included a version of this poem:

3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by evin on 20 septiembre, 2008 at 12:21

    hi, I will translate this poem. 🙂 love evin

  2. Posted by Gustavo on 22 septiembre, 2008 at 10:29

    So charmed! I’ll wait for read it

  3. Posted by evin on 24 septiembre, 2008 at 8:38

    It is at my space now
    and O dedo na chaga is also presented to readers in Turkish.
    but no music:(

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