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Keep hunger in mind: remember its past
trampled weith foremen who pay you in lead.
That wage is paid in blood received,
with a yoke on the soul, and blows to the back.

Hunger paraded its caved-in cows,
its dried-up women, its devoured teats,
its gaping jawbones, its miserable lives
past the strapping bodies of all the eaters.

The abundant years, the satiety, the glut
were only for those who get called boss.
I am here, we are here, to make sure that bread
goes straight to the teeth of the hungry poor.

Maybe we can't be those at the front
who understand life as bloody war-booty:
like sharks, all greed and tooth,
or eager panthers in a world always starving.

Years of hunger have been, for the poor, the only years.
Quantities of bread were heaped up for others,
and hunger wolfed down its ravenous flocks
of crows, clawed things, wolves, scorpions.

I fight, famished, will all my gashes,
scars and wounds, souvenirs and memories
of hunger, against all those smug bellies:
hogs who were born more lowly than hogs.

For having engorged yourselves so basely and brutally,
wallowing deeper than pigs at play,
you will be plunged into this huge current
of blazing spikes, of menacing fists.

You have not wanted to open your cars to hear
the weeping of millions of young workers.
You just pay lip service, when hunger comes to the door
begging with the mouths of the very stars.

In every house: hatred, like a grove of fig trees,
like a quaking bull with shaking horns
breaking loose from the barn, circling, waiting,
and doing you in on its horns as you agonise like dogs.


Miguel Hernández
Translation by Dan Share

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