Waltz of the Lovers Who Will Always Be Together
They never left the orchard of their arms,
and entwined themselves
in the red rosebush of their lips.
Hurricanes of spite tried
to separate them.
And sharpened axes
and terse lightning bolts.
Their pale hands
mounded up earth.
They took the measure of cliffs,
driven by the wind
between gaping mouths.
They moved deeper and deeper through
shipwrecks, in their bodies, in each other’s arms.
Hunted and sunk
by a great helplessness
of memories and moons,
of Novembers and Marches,
they saw themselves scattered
like weightless dust:
saw themselves scattered,
yet always in each other’s arms.
I know enough to see and hear a sad exasperation
when one comes to and leaves behind happiness
the way a meridian sea comes to a bay,
to a shunned, desolate place.
What I have suffered is nothing
compared to what will happen next—
suffering the rigorous agony
of walking from this knife to that sword.
I’ll be still, separate myself if I can
from this constant, full, urgent pain,
go where I won’t see you, and you won’t hear me.
I’m going, I’m going, I’m going, but I stay,
but I’m going, dry as a sandless desert,
goodbye, love, goodbye till I die.
No, I won’t go along: I despair
as if I were a hurricane of lava
in the presidio of an enslaved almond,
or in the hanging prison of a finch.
To kiss you was to kiss a wasp’s nest
that nails me to torment and unnails
me and digs a burial pit, and digs
down into my heart where I die.
No, I won’t go along: that would be to worship
too much the vision of your kiss,
to follow the curse of your fragrance.
One buried alive in crying,
a revolution in bone,
I’m a lightning bolt, subject to a bottle.
From Miguel Hernández, a volume of poems selected and translated by Don Share, to be published in April 2013 by NYRB Classics.
ContributorMiguel Hernández, translated by Don Share
DON SHARE is Senior Editor of Poetry magazine; his latest book of poems is Wishbone (Black Sparrow, 2012).