A man-eating knife
A man-eating knife
with a sweet, murdering wing
keeps up its flight and gleams
all around my life.
A twitching metal glint
flashes quickly down,
pricks into my side,
and makes a sad nest in it.
My temples, flowery balcony
of a younger day,
are black, and my heart,
my heart is turning grey.
Such is the evil ability
of this enveloping beam
that I go back to my youth
like the moon goes to a city.
I gather with my eyelashes
salt from my soul, salt from my eye,
and gather blossoming spiderwebs
of all my sadnesses.
Where can I be
that I will not find loss?
Your destiny is the beach,
my calling is the sea.
To rest from this hurricane
work of love or hell
is impossible, and the pain
makes sorrow last and last.
But at last I will win out,
worldly bird and ray,
heart, because in death
there is no doubt.
So go on, knife, and slash
and fly: and then one day
time will yellow
on my photograph. Lightning that never ends
Will this lightning never end, that fills
my heart with exasperated wild beasts
and furious forges and anvils
where even the freshest metal shrivels?
Will it never quit, this stubborn stalactite,
tending its stiff tufts of hair
like swords and harsh bonfires
inside my heart, which bellows and cries out?
This lightning never ends, or drains
away: from me alone it sprang, it trains
on me alone its madness.
This obstinate rock sprouts
from me, and turns on me the insistence
of its rainy, shattering bolts. Your heart is a frozen orange
Your heart is a frozen orange.
No light gets in; it is resinous, porous,
golden: the skin promises
good things to the eye.
My heart is a feverish pomegranate
of clustered crimson, its wax opened,
which could offer you its tender pendants
But how crushing it is to go
to your heart and find it frosted
with sheer, terrifying snow!
On the fringes of my grief
a thirsty handkerchief
hovers, hoping to drink down my tears. You threw me a bitter lemon
You threw me a bitter lemon
from a hand so warm and pure
that I tasted the bitterness
without spoiling its architecture.
With a yellow jolt, my sweet
and lazy blood turned hot, possessed,
and so I felt the bite
of the tip of that long, firm teat.
But glancing at you and seeing the smile
that this lemon condition produced
(so at odds with my greed and guile),
my blood blacked out inside my shirt,
and through that porous golden breast
I felt a pointed, dazzling hurt.
Excerpted from Miguel Hernandez by Miguel Hernandez; Selected and Translated by Don Share. Copyright © 2013 by Miguel Hernandez; Selected and Translated by Don Share. Excerpted by permission of NYRB Poets, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.