Rafael Alberti


To Niebla, My Dog

you don't understand: all sing it: your ears,
the innocent tobacco, foolish to your glance,
the long gleams you leave on the mountainside
when you leap, tender rays of touseled grass.

See those orphan dogs, cautious, confused,
who suddenly spring from the ragged mists
trailing in their timid bewildered steps
all the recent terror of their home in ruins.

In spite of those fleeting processionless cars
that transport Death in an open chest;
despite this child, who watches, as at a show,
the fight in the air that could murder him;

in spite of my closest comrade lost,
of my more-than-sad family who can't understand
that which I wanted more than I'd known,
and despite the friend who deserts us and sells

Niebla, my comrade,
though you don't understand, we still are left,
amid this heroic bombarded grief,
with faith: which is joyous, joyous, joyous.

Autumn And The Ebro

Autumn, again. The war goes on, cold,
insensitive to the leaves' periodic descent.
Like the man of the Ebro under artillery,
the desolate trunks beside the red waters.

The tree's resistance, so hard, so human,
like that of the soldier, who among the gales
of nocturnal death sees the morning grow,
newly flowered from immortal limbs.

I watch the leaves, see how tentatively
the beloved forest's earth lies naked,
see how the man of this Spain feels,
like the trunks, firm, now naked or clothed.

Autumn, again. Soon, winter. So it goes:
the tree's dress will fall, the sun not remember us.
But like the trunks, the man in the struggle,
dry, yellow, cold, but underneath, green.


The Soldiers Sleep

Look at them.
Asleep, with a village air,
like tenderest animals, hard and accustomed
to that which suddenly jerks them from dream,
like the tireless dogs of the flocks.

The slow sound of iron wheels grinding them,
lonely and absent their sleeping eyes
roll over a sorrow that seems like a landscape
beaten by hooves and wearied skeletons.

They sleep, yes, with their hands, which are fists,
open, forgotten an instant by the new exercise
of leaving the opposite troubled lives empty.
... But also the rifles rest from their trade.



When you endure so much sleepless
and through your blood
you hear how only anger passes,
how hatred trembles wakeful in your marrow
and vengence burns constant in your pith,
then words won't do: they're words.

Bullets. Bullets.

Manifestos, articles, discourses, graveyards,
lost smokeclouds, printed mists:
such sorrow of papers for the wind to blow,
such sadness of ink for the water to blur!

Bullets. Bullets.

Now I suffer the poverty, meanness, sadness,
wretchedness, death that a throat endures
when it wants to cry out from its tongue's abyss
what it can't, what's impossible, and falls silent.

Bullets. Bullets.

Tonight I feel words wounded to death.



Return to: Top | Poems Index |"Winds" contents | Home