A plate for the Bishop, a plate chewed and bitter,
A plate of steel scraps, of ashes and tears,
A plate brimming over with fallen walls and sobs,
A plate for the Bishop, a plate of Almería’s blood.
A plate for the banker, a plate of cheeks
of children from the happy South, a plate
of explosions, mad waters, of ruins and terror,
a plate of broken ankles and trampled heads.
Each morning, each murky morning of your life,
you’ll have it steaming and hot on your table:
you’ll push it back a bit with your soft soft hands
so as not to see it, not to eat it so often;
you’ll push it back a bit between the bread
and the grapes, this plate of silent blood
that will be there each morning, every
A plate for the Colonel and the Colonel’s wife,
at a garrison party, at every party,
over curses and spit, with the dawn’s light of wine,
so you’ll look out over the world, trembling and cold.
Yes, a plate for you all, rich ones everywhere,
ambassadors, ministers, atrocious dinner-guests,
ladies with comfortable tea and bottoms:
a plate destroyed, overflowing, filthy with the blood of the poor,
each morning, each week, forever and ever,
a plate of blood from Almería before you,
A photographer at Fordham asked her peers to write down the microaggressions they’ve encountered. Here is what they had to say.
Letter from Federico Garcia Lorca to Miguel Hernández
My dear poet:
I haven’t forgotten you. But I’m doing a good bit of living, my pen keeps slipping out of my hand.
I think about often because I know you’re suffering in that circle of literary pigs, and it hurts me to see your energy, so full of sunlight, fenced in and throwing itself against the walls.
But you’ll learn that way. You’ll learn to keep a grip on yourself in that fierce training life is putting you through. Your book stands deep in silence, like all first books, like my first, which had so much delight and strength. Write, read, study, FIGHT! Don’t be vain about your work. Your book is strong, it has many interesting things, and to eyes that can see makes clear the passion of man, although, as you say, it doesn’t have any more cojones than those of most of the established poets. Take it easy. Europe’s most beautiful poetry is being written in Spain today. But, at the same time, people are not fair. Perito en lunas (Skilled in moons, Hernández’ first book) doesn’t deserve that stupid silence. No. It deserves the attention and encouragement and love of good people. You have that and will go on having it because you have the blood of a poet and even when you protest in your letter you show, in the middle of savage things (that I like), the gentleness of your heart, that is so full of pain and light.
I wish you’d get rid of your obsession, that mood of the misunderstood poet, for another more generous, public minded obsession. Write to me. I want to talk to some friends and see if they’ll take an interest in Perito en lunas.
Books of poetry, my dear Miguel, catch on very slowly.
I know perfectly well what you are like and I send you my embrace like a brother, full of affection and friendship.
(Write to me)
1933, taken from The Selected Poems of Miguel Hernandez and Blas de Otero, translated by Hardie St Martin/get_num_replies.js' + query + '">' + 'script>'); })(); //]]>
We never know how high we are
Till we are called to rise;
And then, if we are true to plan,
Our statures touch the skies—