Miguel Hernández’s “Canción última”


Portrait of Miguel, made by drama-writer to be Antonio Buero Vallejo, while both were in jail after the warAfter the success of his great book Viento del pueblo (Wind of the People), edited in 1937, between 1938 and 1939, the poet Miguel Hernández was preparing a new poem book during the last years of the Spanish Civil War, but due to the defeating of the Spanish Republic, the book couldn’t be edited, but its poems were very known, as we’ll see… His new book, El hombre acecha (The man waylays) was bounding to keep the triomphalist tone of its predecesor, but the war was tooking to its tragic and sad end: the Non-Intervention Committee, answering to the denounce of Germany and Italy, commanded the inmediatly exiting of the foreigners fighters (for the Republic) from Spanish territory (many of them didn’t), and, as it was losing their territory, the Republic was almost completly alone in its struggle, and the soldiers were tiring, being hurted and dying more and more everyday. This tireness was retrated by Miguel Hernández in many of the poems of this book, as it was this “Canción última”, which closed the book, where the poet expresses his longing for go home, with his wife and son, and the despair in front of the inevitable lost of war.

(Advice: this translation musts not be taken very serious, because I’m not a philologist nor bilingual; you must take it as a first aproximation. For better translations, search for English, or in any other language, translations of Miguel Hernández’s book made by well-recognosized philologists)

Canción última

Pintada, no vacía:
pintada está mi casa
del color de las grandes
pasiones y desgracias.

Regresará del llanto
adonde fue llevada
con su desierta mesa
con su ruidosa cama.

Florecerán los besos
sobre las almohadas.
Y en torno de los cuerpos
elevará la sábana
su intensa enredadera
nocturna, perfumada.

El odio se amortigua
detrás de la ventana.

Será la garra suave.

Dejadme la esperanza.

El hombre acecha (1938-1939)

Last song

Painted, no empty:/ painted is my house/ with the colour of the great/ passions and misfortunes.// It shall return from the weeping/ where it was leaded/ with its deserted table/ with its noisy bed.// Kisses shall bloom/ upon the pillows./ And around the bodies/ the sheet will raise/ its intense night, scented/ bindweed.// Hatred softens/ behind the window.// It will be the gentle talon.// Let me the hope.

The book kept being inedit, but its poems were very well known by many readers of this great poet. Spanish songwriters took some of these poemas. So, Joan Manuel Serrat, in 1972, in his album homage to the poet, sang this poem:

And later, in 1976, a songwriter called Francisco Curto recorded his version too in another album-homage, with the same name: his version is a half recitated song:

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