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  THE OLIVE HARVESTERS

Andalusians of Jaén,
proud harvesters of olives,
tell me from your soul, then,
who made the olive groves?

They did not come from nothing,
from money, nor the masters,
only from the silent earth,
and from sweat and toil.

United with pure water,
united with the planets,
the three made the beauty
of the twining trunks.

Rise, white olive tree,
they said at the wind’s feet.
And the olive raised an arm
weighty as concrete.

Andalusians of Jaén,
proud harvesters of olives,
tell me from your soul, then,
who nursed the olive groves?

Your blood, your lives,
not the exploiters’
who were enriched by
your sweat’s generous stream.

Not that of the owner
who buried you in poverty,
who beat at your brows,
who lowered your gaze.

Trees that your zeal
blessed at midday
were the source of bread
that only others ate.

How many ages of olives,
fettered feet and hands,
suns on suns, and moons on moons
weigh on your bones?

Andalusians of Jaén,
proud harvesters of olives,
tell me from your soul, then,
whose are these olive groves?

Jaén, rise bravely
from your lunar stone,
you’ll not be enslaved
nor all your olive groves.

Within the clarity
of oil and its aromas,
they reveal your liberty
the liberty of your loam.

autógrafo

Miguel Hernández, 1937
Translation by A. S. Kline


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