Wednesday, November 30, 2011
ESPAÑA EN EL CORAZÓN, by Pablo Neruda
One of the things I didn't mention in yesterday's post about the SPANISH CIVIL WAR entry in the Simple History Series is the effort Gerlach makes to maintain a perspective that doesn't favor either side. It's difficult to do that in any account of war, and probably especially difficult for this war in particular. While I certainly appreciate the objective viewpoint in most informative writing, for this particular topic there's a lot to be learned by going beyond the objective. And while that might not be appropriate in the scheme of Gerlach's Simple History Series, the interested reader has a wealth of subjective information to explore, assuming they want to transcend the very simple.
A good place to start, in my mind, is Pablo Neruda's poetry collection ESPAÑA EN EL CORAZÓN. Written and printed while the war was still going on, Neruda's work captures some of the passion felt by those defending the Spanish Republic, and some of the atrociousness of the actions committed by Franco's forces. To those who prefer their poetry jaded and blasé in tone, Neruda's collection might come across as excessive. He seemed to recognize that himself, and addresses it in the closing stanzas of his poem Explico Algunas Cosas (I Explain a Few Things):
Preguntaréis por qué su poesía
no nos habla del sueño, de las hojas,
de los grandes volcanes de su país natal?
Venid a ver la sangre por las calles,
venid a ver
la sangre por las calles,
venid a ver la sangre
por las calles!
(here's a translation:)
You all will ask why my poems
don't talk of sleep, of leaves,
of the large volcanoes of my native country.
Come and look at the blood in the streets,
come and look
at the blood in the streets,
come and look at the blood
in the streets!