Tuesday, February 17, 2009


This afternoon we watched a Spanish movie, 'Salamina Soldiers' (2003), about a young novelist assigned to write an article on the Spanish Civil War. She embarks on a journey that will change her life forever. In the film mention was made of a poet, so I scribbled the name down and, after the film ended, my fingers went clicking. I'm rather ashamed to say that I'd never heard of this man and now I'm reading about a very famous poet and the incredible life he led up until the Spanish Civil War in 1936 and his flight across the French border to Collioure. His works are very beautiful and many written in grief for his wife. I found the following about Machado on a gem of a site which I intend to explore more.

"Antonio Machado's wife died when she was very young. It is through his lifelong anguish over this loss that a kind of sacred spiritual yearning emerges. He begins to see his dead wife as his divine beloved, ever present, ever calling to him, yet ever just out of reach so union can only be found in a mystical embrace. In this way, his unsatisfied romantic yearning was elevated to an experience of the sacred, similar to that sought by the troubadour mystics several centuries earlier. When his poems speak of this beloved woman, read into it the divine and see what meaning emerges."

With the morning dew...
With the morning dew,
stand forth from the mists
white peaks, green meadows.
The sun on the oak groves!
The larks climb so far
they melt into sky.
Who feathered the fields?
Who made wings of wild earth?

Above the tall ranges,
on broad sunlit wings the eagle rides the wind.
Above the sharp peak
where the river rises,
the turquoise lake,
the ravines deep in pines,
Above twenty hamlets
and a hundred roads.

Mistress eagle, where bound
so early in the morning,
so steadily flapping down highways of air?

'Selected Poems' Translated by A.S. Trueblood

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