Friday, January 13, 2012

Miguel Hernandez (1910-1942)

‘It Would Have Been Less Painful’
(IX: From ‘El Rayo Que No Cesa’)

It would have been less painful if it had been
nard your complexion to my gaze, nard,
thistle your skin to my touch, thistle,
bitter-apple your voice to my ears, bitter.

Bitter-apple is your voice to my ears, bitter,
and I burn, in and around your voice, I burn,
and I’m slow to burn, what I’m slow to offer,
juniper oil, my voice for yours, juniper.

Briar is your hand, if I hold it, briar,
wave your body, if I reach for it, wave,
close to me once, yet a thousand times not close.

Heron is my pain, a slender sad heron,
alone like a breath and a cry, alone,
stubborn in its error and disgrace, stubborn.

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