Miguel Hernández: “After Love”

After Love

We could not be. The earth
could not be enough for us.
We are not equal to what
the sun intended
with its distant desire.

One foot draws
a little closer to the light.
The other insists on darkness.
Because love is not forever,
not in me, or anyone else.
Hatred waits for its moment
in the depths of every coal.
Hatred is red, yet nourished.
But love is pale and alone.

Tired of hating, I love you.
Tired of loving, I hate you.

Time rains. It is raining time.
A sad day among all days,
sad for all the earth,
sad from me to the wolf.
We sleep and wake
with a tiger between our eyes.

Stones, men like stones,
hard and full of bitterness,
collide in the air, where
stones crash unexpectedly.

The solitudes
that broke them apart today,
and yesterday
bound their faces together.
The solitudes
that in a kiss
still a muffled roar.
Solitudes forever.
Solitudes without support.

Bodies like a hungry sea
crashing together angrily.
Alone, tied together
by love, by hate.
Surging through veins,
crossing cities, grimly.

In the heart, everything lonely
takes root.
Footprints without companions
are left behind
as if made in water
or at the bottom of an ocean.

Only one voice in the distance,
I hear it from a distance always,
forces you on, accompanies you
like a neck upon your shoulders.

Only one voice snatches me up
from this thorny frame
from this receding hair
and threadbare clothing.

The dry winds cannot
dry its luscious seas.
And the heart remains
fresh in its jail of August
because this voice is the river’s
most tender weapon.

It says:
“Miguel, I’ve remembered you
since sun and since dust,
before the moon existed,
tomb of a loving dream.”

Love: it tears my being
from its primal rubble,
and building me up,
speaks truth through my breath.

After love, there is the earth.
After earth, there is everything.

Miguel Hernández

Translated from Spanish by Paul Weinfield, © 2015
Photo by Eikoh Hosoe

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