Emilio Prados


Let Them Talk

Let them talk, let them talk,
let the crows flap their wings,
for what my eyes have seen
must not die in silence.
I will tell what I saw;
let them talk, let them talk.
For if I have seen blood
so spilled on the wind
that my memory burns me
and keeps me from sleep,
that its red cry of flame
still aches in my nails,
I must not hold my tongue.

Let them talk, let them talk.
When evening awoke
on the drowsy port
that awaited its stars
among boats and flags,
evil stars arrived,
evil treacherous guns.
Evil drummers played,
false voices were heard:

Friends, we are brothers,
we're comrades all:
but keep your hands high
and your guns on the ground.
Friend, I'm unarmed,
without guns, without money;
breadless my children
await my heart's sorrow.

Don't talk so much, fellow.
Now, up with your hands!
evil evening of death,
hollow-heart evening.
They say that our justice
is terror, ill-will,
that no human warmth
burns in our heart.
They say we sow sorrow
and harvest but hate,
that women and children
flee us like poison.
They say we crush wheat,
that we ruin the crops,
that we sow only hunger
and sorrow for winter,
that we burn without mercy
olives and plowland,
that we tear up the belly
and soul of our people.
Let the Fascists talk,
for the truth of what happened
and the truth that we fight for
will yet light the sky.
If now they fear justice,
if before their harsh flight
their nights are in terror,
their nerves are strained,
tell them we never wanted
this moment to come
with its hard wrinkled foreheads
and firm fearless fists.
Tell them the people
only asked work and peace,
sure bread and no fears,
brotherhood and clear skies.
Their black pride has aroused
that which hunts them through dreams.
Let them talk, let them talk,
all over the world,
for we carry the truth
like a light in our breast.
Let them talk, let them talk,
for what I have seen
must not hold itself still.
I have seen the blood flow,
breaking off the first steps
of a man's strong trunk.
The ground is still damp
with his eyes of fear
and the rose of his body;
with bullets black conscience
cut the stem of his throat.

Death came to shroud him
with her reddest bandana,
and Death fled weeping,
swearing vengeance for grief:
a fallen boy's grief,
a dead boy's silence.

I have seen the highways
filled with hungry
women and children
bleeding with terror
and the smell of fear:
anguished processions
that seek the calm breast
of our triumphant city
now freed from mad dogs.
If we sow only hatred,
if they fear only us,
why do women and children
run to our arms
trembling like lambs,
hungry for warmth?
Ask to their faces,
for their silence says more
than the loudest words
that can cross the wind.
Let them talk, let them talk,
with tricks and with lies,
for with crimes and with treason,
nothing ever was won.
Let them talk, for I saw
the gypsies and sailors,
riflemen, soldiers,
Civil Guard shock-troops
rise in an instant
and join the people
who with fists of steel
can revenge this treason
and erase its black footprints.
Who dares? Whoever,
right lies with the people!
If today they fear justice,
they have started the fire.

Let them talk, let them talk,
all over the world,
for the truth now lights
its red dawn in the sky!


Beseiged City

Among cannon I watch myself,
among cannon I move:
castles of my reason,
frontiers of my dream:
where does the wind start,
where does my heart end?
I've no pulse in my veins
but the buzzing of gunfire;
whirlwinds that drag me
through the jungles of my nerves;
multitudes who shove me,
eyes that burn my fire,
mouthfulls of victory,
hymns of blood and steel,
birds that fight against me,
raise my face to their sky,
leave my land trembling.

Heavy masses
cross my iron veins.
All my steadiness waits,
barricaded in my bones.
Present comrades,
ghosts of my memories,
hopes of my hands,
nostalgias of my games:
all afoot to defend me
for my life is besieged,
truth is surrounded
and threatened in my breast!
Up, quick, the barricades,
for the heart is burning!
Black bullets of ice
mustn't come to smother her.
Quick, my blood, hurry,
crowd me full!
Raise all my armies:
see how a flame-squall
is waiting, trembling,
in the center, already
too large for my siege!
Quick my blood, to arms,
now the fire overflows me!
It will brand the dreams
of whoever dares
to threaten it ...

Aí, city, besieged city,
city of my own breast,
if the enemy tramples you
it will be to see me dead!
Castles of my reason,
frontiers of my dream:
my city's besieged,
I move among cannon! ...
Madrid, where do you begin?
Madrid, are you my body?


Dwelling in Death
with Federico Garcia Lorca


I. Loss

My hands do not reach you.

My hands do not reach you
where your distant skin
mingles you with the winds
the dream does not know.

My hands do not reach you,
in the darkened window
where the shadows die.
My hands do not reach you.

My arms prolong,
like the voice profound
seeking you in the world:
such flights for your absence!

My arms prolong
but nothing find,
not the body's bound
nor its limits' sorrow.

My hands do not reach you.

The hands do not reach you,
and you yourself seek you,
for everyone calls you
and you know no longer
the star of your body.
The hands do not reach you.

Look, look at the ground.
See these hard stones
where sorrow and man
grow nude and forget.

Look, look at the rose
beside the soiled war
arise defending
your ephemeral person,

not concealing its petals
nor the hide of the bulls,
the flight of your song
and your blood on the sand.

Look, look at the ground,
this enormous beach.
Like children we seek
the shell of your name.

Under this hollow night
with no soul, we wander
like children to seek you
on silence's shore.

Look, look at the ground.

My hands do not reach you,
but you're reached by the foam
that like the so-slow sea
proceeds from your death.

My hands do not reach you.
Look, look toward the ground.

My hands do not reach you;
in their ultimate tips
my eyes wave weakly,
now almost hopeless.



II. Search

They tell me your death, the name of your absence,
and scarcely retain your voice to know you.
Is the wind controlled by the human fancy
not asking it now if your body resides?

Beneath its violent skin that war rules today
or the silent round limit of a tear,
the word constructs the rose of its glories
scarcely knowing the color of your hand.

I know that your compass' magnet at waterside
makes its indices spin toward the sweet horizon
where sugar and bread, and coal and the air
raise the dawn up lovely because man labors.

But I look at the earth; perhaps it had not known
a deeper sorrow when you walked upon it.
I see broken riverbeds bleed on its breast
where the tree lifts up its martyred loneliness.

What landscapes kindle beneath your pulses?
I sensed the mysterious tastes of your sap;
know today on the earth your sorrow alone flows,
but not how to pursue you across its form.

It's true you decline when Time calls to you,
when the needed voice seeks you in the shade;
for Death dresses in absence in your blood,
but I forebode you anew on my forehead.

Those who don't know you bear me your last news,
who never understood what your blood was crying.
Those who don't know you tell me your death.
If you are and are space, brother, sing the sky.


III. Encounter

I just close my eyes to enter my death,
for the world has ended its bound in my eyes.
I just close my eyes: back turned on Time,
vision finding myself newly with the life I lose.

It's not that my blood spurts illumined from dream,
active and careful, to raise its bodies from shadow;
it's that Life herself follows me toward within
and in my eyes summoned fights with her infinite.
The world stays outside, its night involuntary,
like a great dead sky that will bury my vision;
meanwhile, wandering, my pulses in silence
seek in my memory fields for their fate.

I just enter my death to come forth again.
I just close my eyelids to enter my body.
I just close my eyes: there the earth remains
with me afoot fixed beneath the black world,
and here my blood glitters its limpid existence,
the secret most intimate eternity shapes in.
There, the war shakes buildings and trees;
within, the constant light asks for the names.
I just close my eyes to enter my death
where body ends without forgetting's advance.

Oh windless solitude!
I just close my eyes and am born awake,
without limit of blood, without sorrow of origin.

Close, close, my eyes: I would find myself present,
beneath the dark earth that bounds with my skin.
I would linger midway, lone fruit of the world,
floating over skies beneath their hollow altitude.

Close, close, my eyes, to Life without happiness;
remain open, my flesh, to infinite Death.


IV. Sojourn

Though the light deny you, deserting your limits,
and your blood not warm its touch against the sky;
though your voice not lift the echoes that guard it
withering on the stone that falls silent in your oblivion;

though the tall star carrying out its message
night on night kindle not grazing your shadow,
spacing in Time its daily trembling
can my pulses' borders moan you absent?

My own body's earth can never lose you,
for you tread the roads of its deepest throbbing.
I just close my eyes, and you rise up:
if the wind has lost you, my blood can find you.

I just close my eyes; for if you're in Death
this way alone do I figure you dead:
wandering with me, pulse by pulse toward within,
while those who don't know you sing you outside.


Man in the ashes of the world dissolves;
his name remains whole beneath the air's dream.



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