Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Miguel Hernandez: Wretched Wars

Wretched Wars

Wretched wars

when love is not our aim

wretched, wretched.


Wretched weapons

those that are not our words.

wretched, wretched.


Wretched men

that die not out of love

wretched, wretched.

Miguel Hernandez, Spanish poet (1910-1942)

Miguel Hernandez (1910-1942) was a 20th Century Spanish poet, playwright and political activist. Hernandez is one of the finest poets of the tragedy of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) and is recognized as one of the great Spanish poets.
During the Spanish Civil War Hernandez  campaigned against the fascist forces led by General Franco. He enrolled in the Fifth Regiment, part of the Republican forces fighting Franco and the Nationalists and joined the First Calvary Company as a cultural-affairs officer, reading his poetry daily on the radio. He traveled extensively organizing cultural events and reading his poetry at rallies and on the front lines to Republican forces  fighting the fascists. 
After the victory of Franco's fascists Hernandez and his family suffered terribly. He was arrested and imprisoned many times and eventually sentenced to death for his anti-fascist political activities and his poetry. The death sentence was commuted to 30 years imprisonment. The years of struggle and hardship and the harshness of his incarceration took its toll and he died in 1942 of tuberculosis.
Much of Hernandez's poetry was written during the destruction and terror of the Spanish Civil War.

His poetry is a direct result of the brutality of the conflict and subsequent savage reprisals and executions. He produced an immense amount of poetry during his imprisonment.
Hernandez's poetry and his example of committed political struggle against the forces of tyranny and injustice had immense influence on other poets, particularly the great Chilean poet Pablo Neruda who was in Spain at the time and was a friend and colleague of Hernandez.
His family continue to fight for justice and to clear his name. In 2010 they filed a law suit in the Spanish Supreme Cort seeking annulment of the guilty verdicts against him. 
You can read more about Fernandez here, here, here

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