Romanceros   (Ballads)

May Clouds of Iron Crush You

Who is weeping in Madrid? who is weeping?
No one, no one, no one.
The children are weeping, the children
who are looking for their mothers.

The dawn stains its gold
with the dust of the roads
that rises from houses
shattered like windows.
The children are weeping, the children,
and curses of blood resound in the corners:

May you kill yourself, flyer,
in your black night;
may clouds of iron crush you;
and when you would flee
may the air fill with flame.
The children are innocent,
their mothers are guiltless,
yet you slaughter them all
as if they were guilty.
What a hate for your wings
oozes everywhere!

Who is weeping in Madrid? who is weeping?
No one, no one, no one:
The children are weeping, the children
who are searching for their mothers
stretched among the ruins.

Air, air, air
if only you could close yourself
so no one could enter!

--   Ortega Arredondo


You Will Win Your Bread

Mother, who plows the land
when the cold North wind
cuts at his flesh
through a homespun shirt?

    What do you mean, son, who plows?
    The plowman plows, that's who.

Mother, who sows the land
when the minstrel wind
passes wrapped in mist,
singing lovingly?

    Who do you want, son, to sow
    the land? The sower sows.

Who reaps the grain
in the scorching sun,
sprinkling dry earth
with a rain of good sweat?

    Who should it be? The reaper!

Who walks in circles
round the threshing machine?

    The thresher!

Who mills the grain and makes it flour?

    The miller!

Who bakes the bread
in the oven of fire?

    The baker!

And who eats it then?

   Hush, son! How should I know?

--  Antonio Agraz



Castilla has wretched ones,
frightened ones who cannot read.
She is shaken by the sun
and hidden in a convent.
Now the priests of Castilla
do not read the saints,
they do not preach faith
or show people the way.

Castilla has no stars
happy with new times:
Castilla nurses rifles
with cannon at her temples,
and the children of Castilla
are old and sad and grave.
Their schools have been closed
to make room for the fire,
for the young wild playboy
and the black-stained priest.
How they hate to work!
How they frighten the workers!
How they rob! How they kill!

Children of Castilla,
of the field almost a desert,
bring grief, bring flowers:
they have killed the schoolteacher.

Comrade, but he was clever!

That's why, child, that's why
the Fascists killed him.

Comrade, but he was good!

These men know nothing
of love or feeling.

Aí, mother, my mother,
they've killed our teacher!

The poplars are in mourning,
the black cypresses have turned red,
the mountains rise in arms,
the winds are hurricanes,
the sun has rays of death,
the valleys flow with poison,
the plants are colorless,
the orchards bear no crops.

Comrades in my Spain,
brothers over the earth,
workers, lift your fists of steel
to kill the Fascists
who murder their people.

Many children in Castilla
are left without a teacher!

-- Anonymous


To the Memory of My Son

A soldier almost a child,
he was sixteen years old.
He was named Andres Moya,
was born in Cantabria,
noble as mountains,
strong as the rocks,
brave, his blood surging
through his young veins.
They called him an Anarchist,
and to set Spain free
he grabbed a rifle on day.
He didn't stay in Madrid.;
it was September thirtieth;
I will never forget him:
he took part in the struggle,
and the son of my life
fought full of hope
with daring and courage
without falling in combat
till the twenty-fourth day
when making a retreat
an artillery howitzer
of the Fascist rabble
reaped his life without mercy.
On the banks of the Tajo
his noble blood spilled
staining the ground red
where someday, perhaps,
red poppies will flower
that I, his dear mother,
will kiss till petals fall
and revenge my misery.

--   A. Rabagdo


Fragments of Romanceros   (Ballads)

I'm looking at my books,
my books, the ones I printed,
that passed through your hands
page by page, word by word.
I think of the printshop with you,
before the war exploded,
and of you, such a craftsman
at Minerva’s altar.
A book of García Lorca
with his first poems
went from him to you, passing
through the love of the presses.
He and you, the companions
of my works and sorrows.
As with you I was a printer,
with me he was a poet;
as they've killed him in Granada,
you've fallen in Somosierra,
and you two have come,
glorious, to my presence:
he with a martyr's palm,
you a hero of the war;
he asking vengeance,
you giving me strength ...

--    Manuel Altolaguirre


Mother, there go the Militias,
and your son goes with them
to fight against Fascism.
Do you know what that is?
Fascism is working
without rest or food
to make fertile land
of the barren plains,
to endure forever
the sun and frost
waiting for promises
of a few grains of wheat
you will have to pay
to the playboy for rent.
Fascism is the crime
of the idle boss
who takes his fancy
with the sweat of the poor.
It's the powerful Church,
champion of the rich,
who raised a great palace
on Christ's humble home.
It is misery, ignorance,
hunger and terror ...

--    Anonymous


Listen! Radio Sevilla!
Queipo De Llano
is barking, braying,
spitting, mooing
on his four paws.
Radio Sevilla!
Gentlemen: here
is a savior of Spain!
Long live wine!
Long live vomit!
Tonight I take Malaga;
Monday, Jerez;
Tuesday, Montilla
and Cazalla; Wednesday,
Chinchón; and Thursday
I get drunk,
and the stables of Madrid,
pillowed with dung,
will be my soft bed!
What an honor it is
to wear on my feet
the horseshoes that Franco
won with his daring
against African spears! ...

--    Rafael Alberti


The fields, bare and dark,
seem a world forgotten:
no one plants them or sows.
Night and day the Fascists
stalk the streets and squares;
at their steps the neighbors
close their windows
and feel in their hearts
the sound of the guns.
Behind the walls of the convent
the Fascists have crawled,
not heeding the moans
of the wounded and tortured ...

--    Anonymous

Valencians! Spaniards!
Listen to these words:
a son of the people speaks,
a son of Maacute;laga calls you,
for he sees his dead brothers
and their blasted lands,
sees his family shattered
and his house in ruins.
Má,laga had banners
that waved like flames:
today only sorrows
and blood on her back.
Look, Spaniards, look:
see how red is the water
that flows in the South;
hear how it calls you ...

--    Emilio Prados


Curse our black fate,
curse our destiny!
For a flock of crows trampled
with their black feet
from the Valencian plain
to the crags of Avila,
and the ghosts of Padilla
who breathe in our bellies
twist our hearts
with resentment and rage.
Strange hands drive us,
strange voices command us,
Spaniards without shame
prod our backs,
and we must fight
against our own land ...

--    M. G. Matilla


Long live the revolution
of all the workers,
of Oviedans, Asturians,
the armed Madrilenans
who defended Madrid
like a single fighter!
We farmers all shout
to power's voice:
"They shall not pass
while one militiaman lives,
for we fight for bread
and our rights to the fields
that Queipo De Llano
and Mola would grab!"

--    F.Fuentes

An evil mother bore you
with the help of a hundred fathers
fifty were Italians,
and the other fifty Germans.
Always blood in your path,
always blood blood blood
filling the horizons,
flooding the streets.
May iron boots crush you,
may evil dogs eat you,
for the fields are barren
where your poison has flowed.
Let no one speak your name,
no one dare to mention you ...

--    Anonymous


I don't know his name:
he came here from Málaga,
and his name doesn't matter.
He came from his home
with his memory etched
with blood and with fire.
When nothing was heard
of his wife or his children,
when nobody knew
they were dead or alive,
he faced the fire
and told us, "Forget it,
it doesn't matter."
I don't know his name:
he came here from Málaga ...

--    Anonymous


Ranks of workers were taught,
ranks and ranks of steel:
lacking bullets, they used picks,
lacking bayonets, fists of steel.
In July the people, burning,
founded the Fifteenth Regiment:
the Thaelmann Battalion,
Battalion of Steel,
Brigade of Victory,
of Lister and Celán,
Modesto, Benito,
Arellano, Heredía
Cortigo and Paolo,
and others now dead:
your blood flowed united
in the Fifteenth Regiment ...

--    Anonymous


Pancho Villa went with them
up the bare mountain,
a smile on his lips,
astride a black horse.
He took his name
from the brave warrior
who defended Mexico.
Pancho Villa, Pancho Villa,
militiaman of the Sierra!

--    Anonymous


The battle lasted three days
and the slaughter was great,
but we held our position
till Lister's men came
and the refugees were saved ...

--   Anonymous

When they reached the tower
only three were left,
for five had blown up
with their dynamite.
And these three stayed on
while their fuses sputtered:
and the stones of El Carpio
made their tomb ...

--    Anonymous

How brave you are,
you rebel fliers:
you fly so low
we cannot see you,
even with telescopes!

--    Anonymous


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