Evil one, neither fire nor hot vinegar
in a nest of volcanic witches, nor devouring ice,
nor the putrid turtle that barking and weeping
with the voice of dead woman scratches your belly
seeking a wedding ring and the toy of a slaughtered child,
will be for you anything but a dark demolished door.
From one hell to another, what difference? In the howling
of your legions, in the holy milk
of the mothers of Spain, in the milk and the bosoms trampled
along the roads, there is one more village, one more silence, a broken
Here you are. Wretched eyelid, dung
of sinister sepulchral hens, heavy sputum, figure
of treason that blood will not erase. Who, who are you,
oh miserable leaf of salt, oh dog of the earth,
of ill-born pallor of shadow?
The flame retreats without ash,
the salty thirst of hell, the circles
of grief turn pale. Cursed one, may only humans
pursue you, within the absolute fire of things may
you not be consumed, not be lost>
in the scale of time, may you not be pierced by the burning glass
fierce foam. Alone, alone, for the tears
all gathered, for an eternity of dead hands
and rotted eyes, alone in a cave
of your hell, eating silent pus and blood
through a cursed and lonely eternity. You do not deserve to sleep
even though it be with your eyes fastened with pins:
you have to be
awake, General, eternally awake
among the putrefacation of the new mothers,
machine-gunned in the autumn. All and all the sad children cut to
rigid, they hang, awaiting in your hell
that day of cold festivity: your arrival.
Children blackened by explosions,
red fragments of brain, corridors filled
with gentle intestines, they all await you, all in the very posture
of crossing the street, of kicking the ball,
of swallowing a fruit, of smiling, or being born.
Smiling. There are smiles
now demolished by blood
that wait with scattered exterminated teeth
and masks of muddled matter, hollow faces
of perpetual gunpowder, and the nameless
ghosts, the dark
hidden ones, those who never left
their beds of rubble. They all wait for you
to spend the night. They fill the corridors
like decayed seaweed.
They are ours, they were our
flesh, our health, our
bustling peace, our ocean
of air and lungs. Through
them the dry earth flowered. Now, beyond the earth,
turned into destroyed
substance, murdered matter, dead flour,
they await you in your hell.
Since acute terror or sorrow waste away,
neither terror nor sorrow awaits you. May you be alone and accursed,
alone and awake among all the dead,
and let blood fall upon you like rain,
and let a dying river of severed eyes
slide and flow over you staring at you endlessly.
Pablo Neruda General Franco in Hell translated by Richard Schaaf.
A note on this diary: I've been reading the poetry of Pablo Neruda lately. When I read this poem, about Franco, I was struck by how much of the anger that Neruda poured toward the butcher of Spain I feel toward our current president.
I'm not much of a visual thinker, but I wanted to try to pull images--both old and new--together to illustrate my feelings, and to link Neruda's rage and my own.
One of the images is copyrighted and comes from Dahr Jamail.