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LULLABY OF THE ONION

The onion is frost
enclosed and poor:
frost of your days
and of my nights.
Hunger and onions,
black ice and frost
great and round.

In hunger’s cradle
my little son lay.
With onion-blood
he was nurtured.
But your blood’s
frosted with sugar,
onions and hunger.

A dark-haired woman,
dissolved in moonlight,
spills herself ray by ray
over the cradle.
Laugh, little one,
drink moonlight
if you must.

Lark of my house,
laugh on.
The laughter in your eyes
is the light of the world.
Laugh so that
hearing you, my soul
will fly through space.

Your laughter frees me,
grants me wings.
Solitude it banishes,
pulls down my prison.
Mouth that soars,
heart that is lightning
on your lips.

Your laugh is a sword,
ever victorious.
Conqueror of flowers
and larks.
Rival of sunlight,
future of my bones
and my love.

The flesh flutters,
sudden as an eyelid,
a child as never before
painted.
How many goldfinches
soar and flutter
from your body!

I woke from childhood.
Never wake.
My mouth is sad.
Laugh forever.
Ever in your cradle,
defending laughter
feather by feather.

You’re a flight so high,
so extensive,
that your flesh is the sky
newborn.
If only I could
climb to the source
of your flight!

For eight months you laugh
with five orange blossoms.
With five tiny
ferocities.
With five teeth
like five adolescent
jasmine buds.

They’ll be the frontier
of kisses tomorrow,
when you feel a weapon
between your teeth.
Feel a flame
run past your teeth
seeking the core.

Fly child on the double
moon of her breast.
It, saddened by onions.
You, satisfied.
Never give way.
Ignore what passes
ignore what happens.

autógrafo

Miguel Hernández, 1939
Translation by A. S. Kline


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