72 year anniversary of the death of Miguel Hernández
Miguel Hernández Gilabert (30 October 1910, Orihuela – 28 March 1942, Alicante) was a 20th-century Spanish poet and playwright. He was an autodidact who hardly went to school; as he came from a poor family he received little formal education.
He published his first book of poetry at 23, and gained considerable fame before his death. He was introduced to literature by friend Ramon Sijé.Shaped, like many Spanish poets of his era, by European vanguard movements and notably by Surrealism, he joined a generation of socially conscious Spanish authors concerned with workers rights. Member of the Communist Party of Spain, Hernández campaigned for the Republic during the Spanish Civil War, writing poetry and addressing troops deployed to the front.
During the Civil War, on the ninth of March in 1937, he married Josefina Manresa Marhuenda, whom he had met in 1933 in Orihuela. His wife inspired him to write most of his romantic work. Their first son, Manuel Ramon, was born on 19 December 1937 but died in infancy on 19 October 1938. Months later came their second son, Manuel Miguel (4 January 1939 – 1984).
Unlike others, he could not escape Spain after the Republican surrender and was arrested multiple times after the war for his anti-fascist sympathies, and was eventuallysentenced to death. His death sentence, however, was commuted to a prison term of 30 years, leading to incarceration in multiple jails under extraordinarily harsh conditions until he eventually succumbed to tuberculosis in 1942.
Just before his death, Hernández scrawled his last verse on the wall of the hospital: Goodbye, brothers, comrades, friends: let me take my leave of the sun and the fields. Some of his verses were kept by his jailers.
My favorite poems
Tu Corazón, Una Naranja Helada.
con un dentro sin luz de dulce miera
y una porosa vista de oro: un fuera
venturas prometiendo a la mirada.
Mi corazón, una febril granada
de agrupado rubor y abierta cera,
que sus tiernos collares te ofreciera
con una obstinación enamorada.
¡Ay, qué acometimiento de quebranto
ir a tu corazón y hallar un hielo
de irreductible y pavorosa nieve!
Por los alrededores de mi llanto
un pañuelo sediento va de vuelo
con la esperanza de que en él lo abreve.
No cesará este rayo que me habita
El rayo que no cesa, 1936
¿No cesará este rayo que me habita
el corazón de exasperadas fieras
y de fraguas coléricas y herreras
donde el metal más fresco se marchita?
¿No cesará esta terca estalactita
de cultivar sus duras cabelleras
como espadas y rígidas hogueras
hacia mi corazón que muge y grita?
Este rayo ni cesa ni se agota:
de mí mismo tomó su procedencia
y ejercita en mí mismo sus furores.
Esta obstinada piedra de mí brota
y sobre mí dirige la insistencia
de sus lluviosos rayos destructores.
Serrat sings Miguel Hernandez
More poems of Miguel Hernández you can find here with the English translation.