Archive for 17/12/08

Miguel Hernández’s “The wind of the People carries me”


Miguel Hernández reciting to the Popular Army Miguel Hernández Gilabert (Orihuela 1910-Alicante 1942) is one of the most important Spanish poets. Son of a humble rancher and working as sheepherd of the family’s goats, Miguel begun to be interested on poetry since very young, reading the greatest Spanish classics poets (Luis de Góngora, Garcilaso de la Vega…). Comes to Madrid for releasing his poetry and get some success among the 27’s Generation poets. He is a declared compromissed poet: republican and communist. His verses, some of the best of Spanish social poetry, talks about the poor men’s misery and about the thirst of justice, but also beautiful love poetry, dedicated to his wife Josefina Manresa. Miguel’s poetry is pasionated, humanist and fierce, born of the compromisse of the poet with his People. For that, during Spanish Civil War, he writes for the Spanish Republic. But when the Republic is defeated, Miguel is jailed and sentenced to death; death never came, but Miguel kept on jail. In prison he contracts tuberculosis, and finally die in 1942. Miguel’s books are these: Perito en lunas -Experienced in moons- (1933), El rayo que no cesa -Lighting that doesn’t stop- (1936), Viento del Pueblo. Poesía en la guerra -Wind of the People. Poetry at the war- (1937), Cancionero y romancero de ausencias -Song and ballad book of absences- (1938-1941) and El hombre acecha -The man is stalking- (1939). The art and example of Miguel made of him an icon of the anti-francoist resistance, and many songwriters as Serrat, Adolfo Celdrán or Elisa Serna, made wonderful songs with his poems.

This poem is one of his most reminded and celebrated, wrote for the Spanish loyal army is a song for the Spain people: the peasants and workiers. Great songwriter from Chile, Víctor Jara, made a song in base to some of these verses.

Vientos del Pueblo me llevan

Vientos del pueblo me llevan,
vientos del pueblo me arrastran,
me esparcen el corazón
y me aventan la garganta.

Los bueyes doblan la frente,
impotentemente mansa,
delante de los castigos:
los leones la levantan
y al mismo tiempo castigan
con su clamorosa zarpa.

No soy un de pueblo de bueyes,
que soy de un pueblo que embargan
yacimientos de leones,
desfiladeros de águilas
y cordilleras de toros
con el orgullo en el asta.
Nunca medraron los bueyes
en los páramos de España.

¿Quién habló de echar un yugo
sobre el cuello de esta raza?
¿Quién ha puesto al huracán
jamás ni yugos ni trabas,
ni quién al rayo detuvo
prisionero en una jaula?

Asturianos de braveza,
vascos de piedra blindada,
valencianos de alegría
y castellanos de alma,
labrados como la tierra
y airosos como las alas;
andaluces de relámpagos,
nacidos entre guitarras
y forjados en los yunques
torrenciales de las lágrimas;
extremeños de centeno,
gallegos de lluvia y calma,
catalanes de firmeza,
aragoneses de casta,
murcianos de dinamita
frutalmente propagada,
leoneses, navarros, dueños
del hambre, el sudor y el hacha,
reyes de la minería,
señores de la labranza,
hombres que entre las raíces,
como raíces gallardas,
vais de la vida a la muerte,
vais de la nada a la nada:
yugos os quieren poner
gentes de la hierba mala,
yugos que habéis de dejar
rotos sobre sus espaldas.

Crepúsculo de los bueyes
está despuntando el alba.

Los bueyes mueren vestidos
de humildad y olor de cuadra;
las águilas, los leones
y los toros de arrogancia,
y detrás de ellos, el cielo
ni se enturbia ni se acaba.
La agonía de los bueyes
tiene pequeña la cara,
la del animal varón
toda la creación agranda.

Si me muero, que me muera
con la cabeza muy alta.
Muerto y veinte veces muerto,
la boca contra la grama,
tendré apretados los dientes
y decidida la barba.

Cantando espero a la muerte,
que hay ruiseñores que cantan
encima de los fusiles
y en medio de las batallas.

 

Miguel Hernández

Winds of the People carries me

The winds of the people carry me,/ the winds of the people blow me on,/ scattering this heart of mine/ and readying my throat./ Oxen bow their heads,/ impotently weak,/ at their punishment:/ lions lift theirs/ and at the same time punish/ with their clamorous claws./ I am not from a race of oxen,/ I am from a race that holds/ the mines of lions,/ the passes of eagles,/ and the ridges of bulls/ with pride in the horn./ Oxen never prospered/ in the wastes of Spain./ Who spoke of throwing a yoke/ over the neck of this race?/ Who ever yoked/ or hobbled a hurricane?/ or kept a lightning bolt/ a prisoner in a jail?/ Asturians of courage,/ Basques of armoured stone,/ Valencians of happiness/ and Castilians of soul,/ labouring like the earth/ graceful as wings;/ Andalusians of lightning/ born among the guitars/ and forged on torrential/ anvils of tears;/ Estremadurans of rye,/ Galicians of rain and calm,/ Catalans of firmness/ Aragonese of lime,/ Murcians of dynamite/ fruitfully multiplied,/ Leonese, Navarrese, masters/ of hunger, sweat and the axe,/ kings of minerals,/ lords of the tilled soil,/ men who among the roots,/ like elegant roots,/ go from life to death,/ go from void to void:/ people of ill descent/ want to put yokes on you,/ yoke you must leave/ broken across their backs./ The twilight of the oxen/ is the point of daybreak./ Oxen die humble,/  clothed in the stink of stables;/ the eagles, the lions,/ the bulls, die with pride,/ and behind them the sky/ is un-darkened and endless./ The agony of the oxen/ makes the spirit small,/ that of the wild creature/ enhances all creation./ If I am dying, let me die/ with my head held high./ Dead and twenty times dead,/ my mouth in the grass,/ I’ll keep my teeth clenched/ and my chin resolute./ Singing I wait for death,/ for there are nightingales that sing/ above the fusillades/ and in the midst of battle.

Translation by A. S. Kline

 

Many songwriters made versions of this poem, as in Spain as in Latin America. Jorge Cafrune (Jujuy, 1937-Tigre, 1978), one of the beginers of the Argentinan folklorist songwriting, was one of them:

 

In Spain, at least, two groups made it: Los Juglares (The Minstrels) and Los Lobos (The Wolves) (not to confuse with the great US Mexicain band), with music of Sergio Aschero:

 

Αφοσίωση στην Ελλάδα


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Δικαιοσύνης και της Eλευθερίας

Éνα τραγούδι από Nikki Θεοδωράκης, "Free" ("Zorba the Greek"):

Aφιερωμένο στην Αλέξης Γρηγορόπουλος
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